The second edition of this year’s Strategic Economic Needs and Security Exercise (SENSE) drew to a close on 7 September in Warsaw. The training was implemented in the framework of the Polish MFA’s development cooperation programme. The SENSE training, held on 3-7 September 2012, was addressed to public servants and activists from Myanmar. The official closing ceremony was attended by MFA Undersecretary of State Jerzy Pomianowski, who awarded the participants with certificates of completion.
The training was attended by 49 Foreign Ministry officials, opposition activists and NGOs from Myanmar. During the five-day training, they took part in negotiation and leadership workshops and in a three-day strategic computer game simulation of a country on the verge of systemic, economic and social transformation. They also held talks with distinguished activists who helped bring democracy to Poland – Zbigniew Bujak, Sejm Deputy Jerzy Borowczak and Marshal of the Senate Bogdan Borusewicz. “We learnt how to use negotiation techniques in politics, but also in economic affairs. This is especially important in light of the current situation in our country. We learnt just how important mutual trust is,” training participant and opposition activist Suu Tri Nyi told Polish Radio. The participants acknowledged that the greatest challenge was working in the private sector as entrepreneurs, while public sector management was easier. According to the SENSE coaches, the Burmese participants were keen on cooperating both with the coaches, and among themselves, even though the groups were made up of both government and opposition representatives. “I feel that at the end of the trainings the participants were really satisfied with their work,” said head coach Michał Modliński.
The SENSE programme for Myanmar representatives is one of the initiatives conducted by Poland in light of the transition taking place in the country. In December 2011, 8 pro-democracy activists affiliated with the National League for Democracy took part in a study visit organized by the MFA Development Cooperation Department. Moreover, during the visit of Minister Radosław Sikorski in Myanmar in May 2012, the MFA together with the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies conducted a series of media workshops in Yangon.