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STATEMENT on CFOB RENERAL PROCESS, INCLUDING RECENT NATIONAL CONSULTATION, and GENERAL MEMBERS MEETING on DECEMBER 15, 2012

Information Released by Canadian Friends of Burma - Dec. 18, 2012  

In order to seek guidance on urgent issues, staff and board members of Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) recently facilitated a multi-sited Consultation and a General Members Meeting to seek guidance from the membership at large.

Reflecting the dispersed nature of CFOB’s general membership, and in order to include as many voices as possible, consultation occurred at several different regional venues. Regional input and voting on board candidates was facilitated using phone & Internet via Vancouver, Saskatoon, London and Ottawa on Saturday, December 15, 2012. Results were centrally coordinated, confirmed and finalized by CFOB staff, board members and general members present at the Annual General Meeting which took place at 20 Wade Avenue in Toronto. Approximately 70 people took part in this coordinated, multi-sited process.

Key issues of discussion included how to increase the stability and effectiveness of CFOB moving forward, in areas such as accountability, transparency, governance, and funding; exploiting the use of digital technologies further in future to maximize democratic participation across geographic distances; election of a new Board of Directors; and planning for staffing renewal. In summary, the national Consultation and AGM confirmed the following decisions, by majority vote, with respect to the CFOB Constitution: 

ALL existing CFOB board members as of December 15, 2012 had completed their maximum 2 year term of service as specified in the CFOB Constitution.

From a list of ten (10) nominated candidates (including 2 incumbents), the General Membership democratically acclaimed all ten (10) directors to serve a 2 year term. Therefore the 2013-2015 CFOB Board of Directors is now composed of the following people (please see page 2 & 3 of this Statement for background and biographical info about each director).

  1. Mr. Htay Aung (Vancouver)  

  2. Mr. James Cowan (Toronto)

  3. Ms. Karen Harrison (Toronto)

  4. Ms. Merle Jacobs (Toronto)

  5. Mr. Michael Sinclair (Toronto)

  6. Mr. Than Aung (Edmonton)

  7. Ms. Thet Thet Htun (Montreal)

  8. Mr. Timothy Zaw Zaw (Toronto)

  9. Mr. Tin Maung Htoo (London)

  10. Mr. Toe Kyi (Ottawa)

The first meeting of the new board of directors will be held in January 2013.

Initial priorities of the new board will include:

  1. Reviewing all existing Constitutional, Bylaw & Policy documents.

  2. Drafting improvements to Constitution, Bylaws & Policies, wherever necessary, in order to update CFOB’s guiding texts and ensure CFOB operations consistently reflect transparency, democracy, and sector best-practices. Any proposed Constitutional or Bylaws changes will be brought to the General Membership for approval and ratification before being implemented.

  3. Reviewing all income, expenses, accounts & financial partnerships to ensure the integrity and continuing financial viability of CFOB’s offices & activities, and that they consistently reflect accountability, transparency, and sector standards, as well as the best interests of CFOB and its constituency.

  4. Conducting comprehensive strategic planning, including developing more creative and diverse long-term fundraising possibilities, as well as a medium-term staffing renewal plan. Current staff confirmed their commitment to work closely with the new board to facilitate smooth management & governance transitions, and to prevent any disruption in the management, activities & commitments of CFOB during this renewal process.

The new Board of Directors looks forward to working together on CFOB related issues, as well as with new and existing partners, CFOB members, and other friends of Burma.

 

BACKGROUND and BIOS of CFOB 2013-2015 BOARD of DIRECTORS

Htay Aung:
Mr. Htay Aung was a student at Rangoon University and took part as a student activist in the 1988 democracy uprising. He went to the Thai-Burma border after the Burma Army's brutal crackdown on student-led demonstrations and joined the All Burma Student's Democratic Front (ABSDF). He arrived in Canada mid-1990s and helped organize the Burmese Student's Democratic Organization (BSDO-Canada). He has also supported and volunteered with CFOB since 2005 from the West Coast.

James Cowan:
Mr. James Cowan is an Ontario Certified Teacher, community educator, and advocate for civil society & human rights. He holds a B.A. in Global Studies (University of Western Ontario); a B.Ed. from OISE (University of Toronto); an M.A. in Religion and Culture (Wilfred Laurier University); and is a doctoral candidate in Social Anthropology (York University). James has a long standing interest in Burma; volunteers with CultureLink Settlement Services as a Citizenship Mentor for newcomers to Canada; and currently works at Toronto Centre for Community Learning and Development.

Karen Harrison:
Reverend Karen Harrison is a long time activist for peace, social justice and human rights. She is also an ordained Buddhist Minister and works with the Burmese-Canadian community in Toronto.   

Merle Jacobs:

Dr. Merle Jacobs is an Associate Professor in the Department of Equity Studies at York University. She has also been very active in social justice, human rights and refugees issues, and has particular connections and interests in Burma and its continuing development.
  

Michael Sinclair:
Dr. Michael Sinclair (retired) has extensive experience working in international educational planning in Commonwealth countries, and recently in Afghanistan. He is a former board member of CUSO, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), and is currently an associate member of the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC). Michael also has particular interests in education and training in Burma, having visited the country several times, including the Golden Rock (Kyaik-htiyo) in 2008, and most recently Tachileik and Yangon in 2012.
 
Than Aung:

Mr. U Than Aung is the current President of Alberta Culture Association, and active with the Burmese Canadian Network. He has also served as President of Burma Watch International, and as Coordinator for Burma Forum Canada. Previously U Than Aung has also worked as a senior civil servant in the Burma Government’s Television and Communication Ministry, before completing graduate studies in Germany, and later settling in Canada.

Thet Thet Htun:
Ms. Thet Thet Htun is currently studying at Concordia University in Montreal. Previously she has worked for MSF (The Netherlands) from 1996 to 1999. She has also worked as Secretary to the Country Director for International Committee for the Red Cross in Burma (Myanmar Red Cross joint Program). She is currently a joint-Coordinator of Burma Forum Canada, and also active within the Burmese Canadian Network.
 
Timothy Zaw Zaw:
Mr. Timothy Zaw Zaw is a leader of the Burmese-Canadian in Toronto. Previously he was a university student and H.G.P. chambers student who took part in the 1988 democracy uprising in Burma. He was also a member of the Central Committee of the United Democratic Youth League Party of Burma in 1988. In 1989 Timothy travelled to the Thai-Burma border and joined ABSDF. Currently he is on the Board of Directors of Burmese Students Democratic Organization (Canada), and is Coordinator of the Burmese Canadian Network.

Tin Maung Htoo:
Mr. Tin Maung Htoo was a student activist in Burma during the 1988 democracy uprising and, after coming to Canada, later obtained his degree in economics and politics from the University of Western Ontario. He is also a founder of Burmese Students’ Democratic Organization (Canada), and of Burma Forum Canada. Tin Maung Htoo has served as CFOB Executive Director from 2005-2012.
 
Toe Kyi:
Mr. Toe Kyi is an IT and Networking Specialist, and currently works as a teacher for an international volunteer organization in Asia. He is originally from Moulmein, Burma and spent several years in Thailand, where he was active in the student movement before coming to Canada. He is also a founding member of Burmese Students Democratic Organization (BSDO). Toe Kyi is CFOB’s veteran board member, having repeatedly served with CFOB since 2000.

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The Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) is federally incorporated, national non-governmental organization working for democracy and human rights in Burma. Contact: Suite 206, 145 Spruce St., Ottawa, K1R 6P1; Tel: 613.237.8056; Email: cfob@cfob.org; Website: www.cfob.org


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