The first Myanmar private Catholic University held the fourth graduation ceremony in Yangon, Myanmar, on December 10.
Joseph Education University (JEU) marks the first private flagship of a Catholic university in Myanmar.
80 students attended in person out of more than 200 students who graduated from JEU at the fourth graduation ceremony in Summit Park View Hotel, Yangon, Myanmar.
Msgr. Andrea Ferrante, Vatican’s representative to Myanmar, lauded that he was proud to be at the graduation ceremony and encouraged everyone to commit themselves to the common good even in difficult times amidst today’s challenges.
Citing Pope Francis’ words, “I invite you to be the prophets for peace,” Msgr. Andrea said, “We are living in a warring world. Pope Francis shows us the road map. Teaching and education are the foundation of peace.”
“When educating a person, we need to help him to have critical thinking – to see the world well. Not only in the book but to be in life,” Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho of Pyay Diocese urged.
JEU could offer the scholarship to 99% percent of the students. The university has produced about 600 alumni since the University started in 2015.
This university was formally set up under the name of Joseph Education Institute (JEI) by Joseph Kung Za Hmung @ Win Hlaing Oo, a Catholic layman, in 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma).
Head and founder of JEU, Mr. Joseph Win Hlaing Oo, said, “Students are from USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia. Graduates from these countries receive their graduation certificates and attire through the post. Although costly, the graduates shoulder the expenses by themselves.”
Some of the students are Buddhists and Hindus. They studied at JEU for knowledge and not for faith conversion.
“They are fond of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ document on caring for our common home very much, which is one of the subjects taught in this University,” Joseph noted.
The JEU has become one of the places for interreligious dialogue.
Joseph said, “A Buddhist who got married to a Catholic woman takes part in the course to know more about the Catholic faith so that family members with different faith may live harmoniously.”
The head of JEU recalled the experience of a Seventh-day Adventist who converted to Catholicism after attending the course.
“It is very surprising to see a member of a community that opposes the Catholic Church very much, but after graduation, he converted to Catholicism,” Joseph remarked.
In addition to the subjects taught in the University, the participants are asked to write the history of their villages or parishes, to make research about their location compulsory.
Felicita Daw Thida Oo, Head of the St. Ann Women's association in Dauku Parish, Loikaw Diocese, one of the conflict areas in Myanmar, recalled that she struggled to submit the assignments by sending them with the overturned envelope sent from the University.
“It is a very challenging learning system. It seems that we are fools for Christ. Please do not stop here. Please keep on learning to serve more,” Joseph encouraged.
When he was asked about his motivation to run the university, Joseph said that many other denominations have their own theological centers in their location. It is very rare in the Catholic Church in Myanmar.
"I am inspired to create a Catholic university for 700,000 Catholics [in Myanmar] to have access to Catholic education so that the mission of Christ can be sustained generation after generation," Joseph told RVA News. - by Hubert Saw
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.