Human Rights and the Military Coup in Myanmar


Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 10:00am to 11:00am


Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Join us for our first Human Rights in Hard Places event this semester, a discussion on Human Rights and the Military Coup in Myanmar with leading activists in the region. The Carr Center’s Human Rights in Hard Places talk series offers unparalleled insights and analysis from the frontlines by human rights practitioners, policy makers, and innovators. The series is moderated by Carr Center Executive Director, Sushma Raman. 


  • Matthew Smith | co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fortify Rights; former Carr Center Fellow
  • Thinzar Shunlei Yi | Myanmar Human Rights Defender 
  • Wai Wai Nu | Founder and Executive Director, Women Peace Network; Founder, Yangon Youth Leadership Center

Matthew Smith is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fortify Rights. Matthew previously worked with Human Rights Watch, EarthRights International, Kerry Kennedy of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and as a community organizer and emergencies social worker in the United States. In 2019, he received a Fellowship at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and he was a 2014 Echoing Green Global Fellow. Matthew’s work has exposed genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, multi-billion-dollar corruption, and other human rights violations. He has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street JournalTIME, the Guardian, and other outlets.

Thinzar Shunlei Yi’s focus is on youth development and dialogue. She is the coordinator of Burma’s National Youth Congress and the Yangon Youth Network. In 2014, she helped organize the ASEAN Youth Forum, and held a highly successful UN International Youth Day celebration reaching thousands of young people and raising awareness on mental health issues. Thinzar is a founder of the diversity campaign #myfriend, and seeks to combat intolerance and extremism in Burma, particularly through the voices of youth. She is also an active member of the first-ever Ambassador’s Youth Council at U.S. Embassy Rangoon, which meets monthly to advise the Ambassador on youth perspectives and needs in Burma. 

Wai Wai Nu emerged from seven years as a political prisoner to become a human rights advocate and the founder of two organizations: the Women Peace Network and the Yangon Youth Center. Through the Women Peace Network, Wai Wai works to build peace and mutual understanding between Myanmar’s ethnic communities and to empower marginalized women throughout Myanmar, particularly in Rakhine State, to advocate for their rights. Her work also aims to reduce discrimination and hatred among Buddhist and Muslim communities and to improve the human rights of the Rohingya people. To engage youth in the peacebuilding process, Wai Wai also founded the Yangon Youth Center. 

Virtual Event Details
This event will be livestreamed on YouTube Live. Attendees registered for this event (link below) will receive a reminder for the livestream fifteen minutes before the event along with a link to the YouTube page where you can participate in the live chat and ask questions during the event.

Registration Closed