Mart Viirand has been conducting ethnographic research on Southeast Asian societies since 2010 with geographical focus on northern Myanmar and the surrounding borderlands. Having previously worked on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border in Central Asia’s Ferghana Valley, where he studied the social and economic pressures created by the militarization of ethnically diverse borderlands, his current research centres on the development of competing institutions of formal education in northern Myanmar in both historical and contemporary perspective.
Mart enrolled as a doctoral student at the University of Edinburgh from 2010. His PhD thesis on formal schooling, religion and ethno-nationalist politics in the Kachin State, Myanmar, was submitted in 2015. His current work builds on these earlier interests with particular focus on bureaucratic environments for private education and other civil society initiatives; the influence of religious organisations in local politics; and the importance of transnational networks for intellectual elites.
He is also involved in several locally run educational programmes in the Kachin State that aim to modernize teaching methodologies, develop civil society initiatives and raise awareness of democratic governance in the context of on-going ethnic warfare and forced displacement.
Development or implementation projects:
01.01.13–31.12.15 SEATIDE — Integration in Southeast Asia: Trajectories of Inclusion, Dynamics and Exclusion AU/713 European Commission’s 7th Cooperation Programme