x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Myanmar Connects

This event occurred on
March 23, 2016
8:00am - 5:30pm +0630
(UTC +6.5hrs)
Yangon, Yangon

With the theme "Myanmar Connects", TEDxInyaLake aims to promote the world of ideas to Myanmar via TED and TEDx talks, and in turn contribute Myanmar's ideas to the world.

“Myanmar Connects” means connecting Myanmar and the World in two aspects, two directions.

First is Myanmar connecting to the world of ideas, of which TED is one of many great resources. We are at a unique time in Myanmar where the whole country is getting connected via the Internet. We would like to promote to the Myanmar people that there is a lot of knowledge in the world, ready to be tapped into and that the internet offers an opportunity to augment and rectify the education system that has been woefully inadequate.

Second is the world connecting to Myanmar and seeing it in a narrative that does not seem to get as much attention – that of Myanmar is a normal human community. The prevalent views of Myanmar are “ugly generals vs. the beautiful lady”, “human rights abuses”, “religious tensions”, “poverty”, “natural disasters”.... While these are important and should not be disregarded, we aim to provide a glimpse into Myanmar as a normal human society with normal human problems and indeed solutions to those problems. Entrepreneurs starting businesses, communities finding ways to educate themselves, youth finding meaning in a changing city, historians writing about the country,... the human aspirations and challenges, and stories that inspire.

Inya Lake Hotel Ballroom
37 Kabaraye Pagoda Road
Yangon, Yangon, 11061
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Aung Naing Oo

Investment promoter
Aung Naing Oo is the Director-General of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, an agency of the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development. He is also the secretary-general of the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC). He served in the military for almost twenty years, before being appointed to the Myanmar civil service as a Deputy General Manager and then General Manager of the Myanmar Agricultural Produce Trading Enterprise under the Ministry of Commerce from 2000 to 2005. In 2006, he was transferred to the Minister of Commerce’s Office as a Principal Officer (Deputy Director General) and in 2010, he served as a Deputy Director General of the Department of Border Trade. He has represented Myanmar in policy dialogue with various institutions including the WTO and participated in many international seminars and meetings related to investment, trade and ASEAN affairs. He was also the Co-chair of OECD Task-force on Policy Framework for Investment.

Aung Soe Min

Art gallery owner and promoter of Myanmar artists
Aung Soe Min was born in 1970 in Mount Poppa. He graduated as an Engineer from Chauk in Middle-Burma. Aung is the founder and spirit behind Pansodan Art Gallery, a well-known and favoured hub for and of creativity in Yangon. Its influence and projects reaches out into the outskirts and countryside. Pansodan is also a venue for poetry readings, book launches, literary receptions, documentary film showings, public lectures, art and heritage workshops. Aung’s true passion lay in the world of the literary arts. He started writing and selling screenplays as a teenager, and founded a publishing house at the age of twenty-two. He is the author of numerous articles, poems, short stories, and essays published in the leading magazines of their time. Aung Soe Min’s ongoing projects also include collecting cultural objects in the form of artwork, documents and visual history for archiving, which he intends on publicly display in a private museum.

Cheery Zahau

Human rights activist
Cheery Zahau is a human rights activist and feminist from Chin State in Western Myanmar. She was a founder of the "Women’s League of Chinland” and a major author for “Unsafe State” report which includes first-hand research on sexual violence against Chin women committed by the government military troops. She has testified at the United Nations, the UK Parliament, US Congressional Hearing and other international forums on the human rights situation in Chin State and in Myanmar. She was awarded “Chin Person of the Year 2011” by the Chin people. She had been featured and quoted in numerous articles. Cheery ran for a lower house seat in last November's elections in her hometown in Falam for the Chin Progressive Party (CPP) but lost to the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Debbie Aung Din

Social entrepreneur
Debbie Aung Din is co-founder of Proximity Designs, a non-profit social enterprise providing farm technology, financial services and advisory services for Myanmar's rural sector since 2004. A native of Myanmar, Aung Din has been engaged in policy dialogue and research on Myanmar’s rural economy since 1995. She has focused much of her career on poverty alleviation and development efforts in difficult places. She has lived in Mississippi, Cambodia and Indonesia, and has worked for NGOs, USAID, the UN and the World Bank. Aung Din holds an MA from Harvard University in public policy and development economics. In 2012, she received awards from the Schwab Foundation (World Economic Forum) and Skoll World Forum for Social Entrepreneurship.

Helen Waller

Since she was young, Helen Waller has enjoyed watching people, listening to stories, and digging into the questions of human motivations. She finished at Carleton College as a Pre-Medical student with a Bachelor’s degree in French and Francophone Studies. She came to Myanmar in 2011 and has spent years teaching both teens at the Pre-Collegiate Program and adults at Yangon University. Through this time, she has become preoccupied with figuring out how people can uncover their innate abilities to be voracious and creative learners.

Lin Sun Oo

Film maker
Lin Sun Oo was born and raised in Yangon, Myanmar. He is the co-founder and director of Tagu Films; an independent film company founded in 2013. He graduated from McDaniel College, Maryland in 2010 with a BA in Philosophy and Environmental Policy. He returned to Myanmar in 2011 after working as a research assistant at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Upon his return, he worked as a producer and director on independent film projects with local film crews and international new agencies. His work has been presented at film festivals such as the Art of Freedom Film Festival, Wathann Film Fest, and the Human Rights and Human Dignity International Film Festival. As a producer, his short documentary film This Land is Our Land have been showcased in local and international film festivals and have won awards in Myanmar and abroad. He has a strong passion in street photography and visual storytelling about life in Myanmar.

May Thway Ko

Heritage conservation
May Thway Ko is the external relations officer of the Yangon Heritage Trust and a special assistant to the Director and Chairman of the Trust. In her role, she is involved in activities of the Trust, including conducting social surveys of the livelihoods of downtown Yangon, liaising with the government, and collaborating on heritage-related events and activities. She is occasionally involved in arranging heritage tours in Yangon and hosting senior international and national figures who visit Yangon including ambassadors and prime ministers. She holds a background in a variety of complementary academic disciplines, including international relations, European studies, conflict analysis, anthropology, international development and project management. She attained a BA in European Studies and an MA in Global Political Studies from Malmö University, Sweden, where as part of her studies she also attended CopenhagenBusiness School (Denmark) and Utrecht University (Netherlands).

Mogok Pauk Pauk

Fashion Designer
Mogok Pauk Pauk is a prominent fashion designer in Myanmar known for her revitalisation of the traditional textile patterns and bringing haute couture to the Myanmar fashion world. She is also one of the most well-known transgender figures in Myanmar. Pauk Pauk was born in Mogok, a town famous for its rubies and from a young age developed an interest in makeup and fashion. She started her career as a makeup artist in Myanmar’s movie industry before making the transition to fashion and design and in the process moving to Mandalay and then later to Yangon. In 2006, she took an opportunity to study at Milan’s Burgo Fashion and Design Institute (Istituto di Moda Burgo), an experience that opened her eyes to global fashion. Mogok Pauk Pauk is passionate about preservation Myanmar textile traditions while modernising to ensure their continuity.

Nay Oke

U Nay Oke is an educator who set up the Institute of English, the biggest and most successful private language school in Myanmar that teaches English to over 5,000 Myanmar students a year. Before setting up the school in 1976 he was a lecturing tutor with the Faculty of English at Yangon University. Today, U Nay Oke is an active participant in civil society doing humanitarian work with various local as well as international organisations in health and education sectors; sitting on the boards of several NGOs, schools and vocational institutes, providing staff and teaching materials to free-tuition school and monastic schools across the country, conducting training courses for language teachers, making appearances on television talk shows on education. U Nay Oke comes from a literary family, his mother being the renowned Myanmar poet Daw Khin Saw Mu.

Pascal Khoo Thwe

Pascal Khoo Thwe is a Myanmar author from the minority Padaung people, known for his autobiographic writings about growing up in Burma under military rule. His book, From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey, was awarded the Kiriyama Prize. he was born in Pekon, Shan State, Myanmar. He is the eldest of six sons and five daughters. His father died in 1996 in Thailand. By a chance encounter with Dr. John Casey, a Cambridge don, Khoo Thwe was rescued from the jungles of Burma where he and other student refugees were fighting Burmese soldiers for independence. In 1991, Khoo Thwe enrolled in Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where he received his BA in English literature in 1995. Khoo Thwe's autobiographical book "From the Land of Green Ghosts" was published by Harper-Collins in 2002. He currently resides in London.

Rene Meza

Telecommunications executive
Rene Meza is Paraguayan by nationality and has over fifteen years of international experience in the telecommunications industry from three different continents in the emerging markets: Africa, Asia and Latin-America. He is currently CEO of Ooredoo Myanmar and prior to this Rene was the Managing Director at Vodacom Tanzania, and before that he was the Managing Director of Airtel Kenya. Prior to that Rene was the CEO of the mobile operator Tigo in Tanzania. Before that, as Chief Operating Officer of Millicom Pakistan, he was responsible for the overall performance of the mobile company till late 2006. From 1996 till late 2005 Rene had led various managerial positions in the mobile operator Tigo in Paraguay. After having worked in Africa, Asia & Latin-America for over fifteen years, Rene has acquired wide and diverse international experience in the telecommunications industry with strong focus on building sustainable operations coupled with the best international practices.

Steven Sui Uk Thang

Social science student
Steven Sui Uk Thang was born in 1989 at Tedim Myo, Chin State, Myanmar. Steven and his family moved to Sumhrang village in Chin State when he was four years old, and where they still live today. Steven’s parents are farmers and he is the oldest of eight children; he has three younger brothers and four younger sisters. Steven attended middle and high school in Falam. After high school, Steven attended religious college in Yangon before graduating with a Bachelor of Theology in 2015 from a religious institute at Falam. Steven is now studying social science at Chin Institute of Social Science at Falam, Chin State, Myanmar.

Thura Ko Ko

Private equity professional
Thura Ko Ko is the managing director of YGA Capital, a Myanmar advisory company focused on identifying and investing in attractive growth opportunities in Myanmar. Prior to returning to Myanmar in 2010, Mr. Ko worked for over 12 years in global investment banking and private equity firms covering Asia out of Hong Kong. He was a Vice President at Providence Equity, and previously worked for Goldman Sachs and N.M. Rothshchild. In Myanmar, he is a member of the board of directors for Apollo Towers Myanmar Limited, a telecom tower operator; Pacific Star Finance Limited, a micro-finance company; and Myanmar Distillery Company Limited, a leading local beverage company. Mr. Ko holds a B.Sc. in Economics from the London School of Economics, University of London and was elected as a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum in 2013.

Tim Aye-Hardy

Education via mobile classrooms
Tim Aye-Hardy is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of myME: Myanmar Mobile Education Project (, which provides education via mobile classrooms to children in Myanmar (Burma) who've been compelled into indentured servitude at teashop restaurants where they're forced to work long hours every day in order to sustain their families. He was born and raised in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). Tim grew up under multiplerepressive regimes and actively participated and spoke out during 1988 student-led protests in Myanmar by giving speeches to thousands of students on human rights and oppressions while he was attending Rangoon Art and Science University (R.A.S.U). Tim left Myanmar to the U.S. in 1989 after another brutal military coup took control of the country. He attended California Polytechnic University, Pomona and San Diego State University, and earned B.S. and M.S in Computer Science in 1998 and 2007 respectively.

Yan Naung Oak

Technology enabler
Yan Naung Oak is the Technology Program Manager for Phandeeyar, an ICT innovation hub located in downtown Yangon. Over the last two years, he has been working with the Phandeeyar team to bring the tech community together with others who are moving Myanmar forward to build the digital tools, platforms and content to accelerate Myanmar’s change and development. Prior to that, he had worked as an educator and a researcher. His main passion is in exploring the confluence of cultures, the mixing of lexicons, and the cross-fertilization of disciplines. Yan was born in Myanmar and grew up in several different countries. These days, he splits his time between between Myanmar and Singapore, working with tech startups and civic hackers in the former, and being a househusband in the latter. He received his bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College in Vermont, USA, where he double-majored in physics and economics. He also holds a master’s in economics from the National University of Singapore.

Yin Myo Su

Sustainable hospitality entrepreneur
Yin Myo Su, born and raised at Inle Lake, Myanmar, is the managing director of the Inle Princess Group, and founder of the Inle Heritage Foundation. With over two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, she has become a strong advocate for sustainable and responsible development practices that brings both social and economic benefit to local communities and insures the preservation of the creative, but fragile, cultural heritage of Inle Lake and Shan State. As an environmental advocate, she has taken a leading role in reintroducing the Burmese Cat back to Myanmar and, at Inthar Heritage House, houses a private lake-side aquarium to draw attention to the unique and at-risk marine life nearby. To pass on her knowledge, Yin Myo Su is Chairperson of The Inle Heritage Hospitality Vocational Training Center that equips aspiring hospitality workers from Shan State develop the necessary technical and human service skills.

Organizing team

Thant Mon

Yangon, Myanmar
  • Alexandra Vanderschelden
  • May Thu Khine
  • Melinda Tun
  • Sylvia Saw McKaige
  • Thin Lei Win
  • Tina Singhsacha