Myanmar Leadership Institute (MLI), Kamayut Township Yangon

The Union Government of Myanmar has taken steps to open high schools on 21 July, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and MLI reopened the day after, putting in place the implementation of the measure protocols to keep MLI community safe. For this year, the fourth quarter course – Leading Across Context: Navigating Sociocultural Realities is done online from 13 July – 22 August 2020. The MLI students and facilitators from MLI and CORD-Ateneo de Manila University had conducted an orientation before the course started where we went into the details of using Zoom and Moodle as our main online platforms. We anticipated technical difficulty, talked through course delivery and means to serve our students effectively throughout the course. We realize that online teaching and learning is relatively new to all of us and at times, we find it challenging. Now that we are in the fourth week of the course, we find we are more familiar with online systems and feel encouraged by the dedicated team, insightful learning materials and students‘ active participations. We are hopeful that together, we are able to complete our new learning process fruitfully.

On two Thursdays, 2nd and 9th July, MLI onsite facilitators (Gillian, U Michael and Sr Sisca) attended the Linguaskill training online sessions. The sessions were designed for coordinators, facilitators and teachers to help them prepare students for the Linguaskill test. As we are preparing for the Liberal Studies and Peace Leader Course soon, we find the sessions useful. The facilitation of this program was organized by Susanna Ablewhite from the Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) and Steve Woods senior English teacher for Loyola Idiomas, the foreign languages department of Universidad Loyola in Andalusia, Spain. Such training sessions done in the hand of expert trainers and worldwide networks have been a great support for our new online enterprise. Technology does wonders as it is able to bring facilitators, teachers and students from across the globe closer!

Simplicity marked the celebration of the Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola this year at MLI and we had the joy of welcoming students, staff and some members of the Jesuit community. We began the celebration with the song: There will be showers of blessings as an expression of thanksgiving for God's protection over us. We thanked Fr Mark Raper SJ and Ms Margaret Sut Ja Noi who shared with us their Ignatian reflections. Fr Mark reminded us that everyone can be a leader and therefore, a decision maker. Further, he expounded the matter in making decisions where experience, friendship and imagination can be our “companions.” We are encouraged to become familiar with these companions. Ms Margaret who graduated from Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (SAG), Taunggyi and currently works as administrative assistant at MLI also shared her experience of learning and working in an Ignatian environment. She recalled her experience teaching during the outreach program as a student and realized the importance of education in developing a community. She states: “I have learnt that sharing can also be caring for others through teaching; I can be a person for others through planning, action and serving diverse people.” The sharing of Ignatian reflections, well-chosen hymns, and lively conversations enriched our celebration. To conclude our evening, we sang the well-known St Ignatius of Loyola’s Take and Receive and we enjoyed a fellowship over a meal together.