Oct. 4-Burmese Movie Star Brings Activist Message to Twin Cities

A well-known film actor turned activist from the Southeast Asian nation of Burma (also known as Myanmar) will speak at the University of Minnesota and meet with members of the local Burmese community during a visit to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area from October 3rd -10th.

Kyaw Thu, a member of a prominent Burmese family who first made his name as a film actor and director in the 1980s and 1990s, has in recent years focused on activism and social work in a country long criticized overseas for its human rights record. He is the founder of the Free Funeral Society, which provides free funeral services to the poor, as well as a charity clinic in which free healthcare is provided by volunteer doctors and nurses.

Kyaw Thu is known as a critic of the military regime that led his country for decades. Despite significant political changes in Burma since national elections in 2015, the country has many challenges and remains among the world’s poorest nations.

Kyaw Thu will speak at several events during his visit. His itinerary includes:

· Oct. 3rd: Arrival in Minneapolis-St.Paul
· Oct 4th: Film screening and talk in Room 10, Blegen Hall at UMN West Bank, 3-5pm
· Oct. 8th : Film screening and meeting with members of the community from Burma , 2-5 pm (McDonough Community Center, St Paul). Free admission; open to the public.
· Oct. 9th: Film screening and meeting with members of the community from Burma, 7-9 pm (The First Baptist Church, St Paul). Free admission; open to the public.
· Oct. 10th” Departure from Minneapolis-St.Paul

Several of the events will include a showing of Walking a Fine Line , one of Kyaw Thu’s documentary films. A film trailer can be viewed at http://www.movedemocracy.org/walkingafineline. The 55-minute film is the story of a leading Burmese movie actor-turned-activist and community leader. After the screenings Kyaw Thu will take questions from the audience.

The Burmese community in the Twin Cities area, consisting of people from several ethnic groups (such as Burman and Karen) numbers about 10,000. It is among the largest immigrant groups in Minnesota, with a significant number of new arrivals in recent years.

The country of Burma (Myanmar) has experienced significant change since 2015. A former British colony, Burma was ruled by a military government for decades after gaining independence. It was during the period of military rule that Burma was frequently cited among the world’s worst human rights violators. The country’s best-known political figure, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, lived under house arrest for much of the period between 1989 and 2010. In the past few years dramatic change has swept the country and since the 2015 elections Aung San Suu Kyi has led the government as First State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs. The United States has gradually eased its long-standing sanctions on the country though some restrictions remain.

For further information on Kyaw Thu’s appearances, please contact a member of the organizing committee:

Contact Name (s) Phone Number(s) Email

1. Mimi Oo 651-324-9046/ 612-817-3599 aafacd-inc@hotmail.com

2. Myat Thanda Tun 651-707-4664 myathawaii@gmail.com

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