Emerging Leaders in Governance


As part of its capacity building initiative, ISP has launched an Emerging Leaders in Governance (ELG) program, which aims to offer opportunity to aspiring young leaders to learn fundamentals of governance and policy research skills. The ELG draws on its network of scholars and researchers to provide a well-structured program on governance studies, offering a graduate diploma.

The program provides participants with a theoretical understanding of federal and democratic governance issues through an empirical-based approach drawing on issues in Myanmar. The training is designed to provide participants with tools useful for addressing the ongoing daily challenges presented by decade-long civil war, democratic deficits and poor governance.


Dr Su Mon Thazin Aung,

Director of Capacity Building/ Course Convener

Ph.D (Politic and Governance Studies),

M.Sc (International Political Economy), Master of Business Administration,

BA (Southeast Asia and Pacific Studies)

Governance, Public Policy, Peace, Political Economy

Dr Min Khin Maung Yin, 

Curriculum Consultant/ Course Convener

Ph.D (International and Political Studies),M.A (Diplomacy),M.A (Public Policy), B.E (Mechanical)

Peace, Diplomacy, Conflict, Democracy, Public Policy

U Aung Thu Nyein,

Director of Communications/ Course Convener

Master in Public Administration

Cho Zin Thet

Senior Research Associate/ Teaching Instructor

Master of Public Policy

Kyaw Htet Aung

Senior Research Associate/ Teaching Instructor

M.A in Political Economy

Nan Sandar Kyaw

Research Associate/ Teaching Instructor

Master of Economics (China Studies)

Myo Myo Kyaw

Research Assistant/ Classroom Assistant

BA (International Relations)

Htet Htet Hlaing

HR and Admin Assistant/ Classroom Assistant

BA (International Relations)



ELG is a one-year program, based in Yangon and runs from June 2020 to May 2021 with two semesters. The classes are usually scheduled either for the morning (7 am – 9 am) or the evening (5:30 pm – 7:30 pm) during weekdays.


The program is free of charge and offers the following benefits:

  • Accommodation for participants not based in Yangon
  • Meal allowance for participants not based in Yangon during the semesters
  • Transportation allowance for all participants during the course
  • Stipend for research activities
  • A mentorship initiative in which a mentor meets with participants to provide guidance about their studies


There will be seven modules in the program.

First semester (June 2020 to October 2020)

  • Governance in Democratic and Federal Systems
  • Research Methodology in Social Science
  • Political Economy of Development
  • Policy Dialogue Seminar Series (Part 1)

Second semester (December 2020 to April 2021)

  • Constitution Building and legislative Process in Myanmar
  • Understanding Public Policy Making and Policy Analysis
  • Student Capstone Project and
  • Policy Dialogue Seminar Series (Part 2)

Duties and Responsibilities of participants

  • Expectations for participants are as follows:
  • Regular class attendance and active participation
  • Submit assignments and attend scheduled assessments on the required dates
  • Conduct research for a capstone project and submit a research report
  • Attend and participate in seminars, workshops, conferences, and other events
  • Follow policy research and administrative guidelines established by ISP



Module Description: 

The objective of this course is twofold: to outline the basic concepts and fundamentals of democracy and democratization, and to make students understand the basic principles of federalism and practices of decentralization. The first part introduces different explanations of democracy and discusses conceptual and elemental definitions of democracy, the continuum of democracy, the waves and reverse waves of democratization, and democratization. This course also examines the concepts and roles of civil society and the media in relation to democratic governance.  The second theme of this course discusses the theories and principles of federalism, decentralization of decision-making powers and executive responsibility, and arguments for and against federalism. Some scholars argue that federalism and decentralization can prevent or settle ethnic and secessionist conflicts while some others point out to the sceptical cases against the claimed benefits. Some advocates of federalism suggest to carefully design the decentralized institutions so that they work well. This course thus pays careful attention to the different forms of federal set-ups and dimensions of decentralization around the world.  

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion, participants will have the knowledge and skills to:  

  • understand the key concepts, idea, theories and terminology associated with democracy, democratization, decentralization and federalism and governance in democratic and federalist nations; 
  • understand the main issues in key theoretical debates in democracy, democratization, and decentralization and federal models 
  • understand the main principles in federal nation-building and democratic state-building 
  • apply relevant concepts and theories to individual cases in a comparative context 
  • demonstrate an improved capacity for critical analysis as well as for clear and effective communication, both written and oral 
  • demonstrate improved capacity to locate and critically evaluate relevant academic sources related to democratic and federalist governance 

 PE4001: Political Economy of Development

Module Description

This module aims to help participants apply theories and concepts of political economy of development to current empirical problems. The course covers basic key theoretical ideas for why and how politics affects economic development by looking at a variety of empirical examples drawn from a number of developing countries. As the state becomes increasingly important in the growth of a nation, the role of the state will be seen from the perspective of the politics of public-service provision and development activities. Some important issues in development, such as corruption, mismanagement of natural resources and foreign aid in development, will also be presented in the course. Most importantly, the course is designed to enable participants to connect key development theories to actual policies and lived experience in the context of Myanmar.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, participants should be able to:

  • understand the relationship between politics and economy (how political choices affect on the economic distribution)
  • apply the knowledge of development theories and practices to analyze current issues of development
  • understand key models and empirical evidences in the role of the state in development
  • review critically fundamental practices and principles of good governance in sustainable development to examine the current development condition of Myanmar.


Module Description: 

This course aims to provide a foundation for an understanding of the major approaches in social sciences, fundamental knowledge of the building and testing of theories, and tools for analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. The course provides an overview of the social-research process covering the logic of scientific inquiry and major research techniques in social research such as the case-study method, experimentation, sampling, survey research, field methods, archival data, and data analysis. The course also discusses the critical steps for conducting high-quality research, analyzing and writing research papers, and communicating research findings to different audiences.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion, participants will have the knowledge and skills to:

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • be aware of the fundamental approaches, methods and techniques in social research
  • understand the major steps in research process
  • understand and be able to assess good theory criteria 
  • be able to apply research knowledge in different social research domains
  • develop a research puzzle, question and strategy for own research


Module Description: 

The Policy Dialogue Seminar Series is one of the modules in Emerging Leaders in Governance (ELG) program. The course provides a platform connecting existing political elites, key policymakers, signed EAO leaders, and the young graduates through policy dialogues/ discussions. Students will receive opportunities to better connect with key political leaders, top-level policymakers, experienced scholars and researchers through policy dialogues. The course will be throughout two semesters and it will be scheduled every two weeks of the semester.   

Learning Outcomes:  

The aim is aimed for students: 

  • to enable participants to contribution to on-going policy discussion in Myanmar, and 
  • to advance existing public debates pertaining to the country’s political transition towards a federal and democratic nation.  


Course Description: 

This course intends to tackle fundamental subjects in crafting democracy in a fragile and divided state, particularly constitutional-building and legislative process in countries in transition to democracy. Constitution sets the basic rules of the game for democratic transition. First, this course discusses constitutional design, actors and process of the transitions, separations of powers, protection of fundamental rights with particular focus on the constitutional building processes taking place in Myanmar and other Asian countries. Second, it also provides an understanding to the separation of powers, roles of legislatures and legislative process in transitional countries. Lastly, this course explores the process of enacting new laws and the political, legal and administrative challenges behind the legislative process in transitional countries with a particular attention on Myanmar. 

Learning outcomes: 

This course is deliberated for students: 

  • to engage with different scenarios and contexts for assessing constitutional building processes of countries in democratic transitions  
  • to provide better understanding of failure and success in constitutional designs for democratic transitions and how the legislative process turn out to work under those constitutional designs 
  • to learn how political, legal and administrative challenges could influence the legislative process beyond a constitutional foundation  


Module Description: 

The module provides a comprehensive introduction to students to the study of the policy making process and the role of policy analysis. Specifically, the module aims to explore approaches, institutions and processes in public policy. It examines the context within which public policy is carried out, the interface between politics and policy, the manner in which problems reach the government agenda, approaches to policy design and formulation, different tools of policy implementation and its challenges, and evaluation techniques and obstacles. The module will also use critical tools of policy analysis to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of specific policies. At the end of the course, students will learn theoretical and applied policy analysis models by working on real-world policy issues of their communities.  

Learning Outcomes:  

After completing the module, students should be able to:  

  • demonstrate the ability to design policy solutions to problems by recognizing the context influencing policy design and creating comprehensive strategies to balance stakeholder interests and apply, monitor and evaluate policy effectiveness.
  • articulate and apply key concepts related to the public policy context, agenda setting, policy formulation, implementation and policy evaluation.
  • recognize the value of holistic analysis of public policy issues


Module Description: 

The Student Capstone Project intends to provide ​all students the ELG program​ with the ability to apply research and discipline-related knowledge they have learnt throughout the program and demonstrate their ability to conduct an original research project on ground. Students form a research group and undertake empirical research studies that address the current problems in Myanmar society. These may include topics that engage with theoretical and/or empirical concerns in the followings areas: (1) Politics and governance issues in Myanmar such as democratic elections, rule of law, human rights, federalism and local governance, (2) Socio-culture and environmental issues; (3) Gender issues in Myanmar; (4) Ethnic and peace-building issues in Myanmar; (5) Economic issues such as poverty in Myanmar; and (6) Foreign affairs of Myanmar. Throughout the semester students will work with a mentor faculty member to produce research report at the end of the program. Each research group will receive a research grant to be able to conduct field research and collect on ground data in Myanmar. Students will require to conduct a verbal briefing to faculty members, invited guests and fellow classmates.   

Learning outcomes: 

 The goals of this course are to provide opportunity to students: 

  • to apply knowledge on governance studies and social research skills of which they have learned throughout this program  
  • to practice research skills by employing social science methodologies and tools in answering the real-life issue in Myanmar. 
  • to communicate research findings to different audiences effectively 


The submission deadline for all materials is May 31, 2020. Applications for Academic Year 2020-2021 are now closed!

The application process has two rounds. Notifications for the first round of selections will be made in June. The second stage involves interviews held in late June (either by video conference or in person). ELG will select 25 applicants. Applicants will receive notification about acceptance in the second week of July.

Applicants are requested to submit the following documents through online application:

  • A curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Academic transcripts
  • Proof of degree or certificate
  • A statement of purpose
  • A statement of research interest

In the statement of purpose, the applicant should discuss his or her background, interests and goals. The statement of research should discuss the applicant’s research interest in a topic related to governance issues in Myanmar. The statements are to be written in English.  The length of each statement is maximum 600 words.


Please contact ISP via phone at 09 960 839 801 or email at [email protected] for inquiries about the ELG.