Zarni (activist)

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Zarni (Burmese: ဇာနည်, IPA: [zànì]) is a democracy advocate, Rohingya campaigner, and a former research fellow at the London School of Economics. He lived and worked in the United States for 17 years. In 1995 he founded the Free Burma Coalition and was its director until 2004. Zarni is also a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment.

Zarni was a University-sponsored researcher at the Department of International Development, University of Oxford from 2006 to 2009, studying agrarian issues. He was a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics' Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit in the Department of International Development (2011–13) until being dismissed for plagiarism. Subsequently, he joined as Research Fellow on Burma the Centre for the Study of Global Governance where he researched the civil society and grassroots activism under Professor Mary H. Kaldor in April 2009, a fellowship he kept until 2011.

In January 2012, Zarni relocated Universiti Brunei Darussalam as Associate Professor of Asian Studies, and was tasked to develop the Institute of Asian Studies and S. China Sea Research initiative. Zarni resigned his position at Darussalam Brunei University in January 2013, after experiencing what he describes as unacceptable restrictions on his academic freedom that were contrary to agreements made when he was hired. The University of Malaya offered him a Senior Visiting Research Fellow to support his academic research. Zarni's stay in Malaysia was cut short because of serious death threats to him for writing about persecution of a group of people. After continuing to live under the protection of Malaysian Police Special Branch, Zarni relocated to UK where his wife is living.

Upon return his research continued in collaboration with Professor Amartya Sen at Harvard University where he held a Visiting Lecturer position at the Harvard Medical School from 2015 to 2016. He is an adviser to the European Center for the Study of Extremism based in Cambridge, UK and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Sleuk Rith Institute of Cambodia since 2016. He was awarded the "Cultivation of Harmony Award"[1] by the world's interfaith organization "The Parliament of the World's Religions" in October 2015, for the contributions to the world's interfaith movement combining scholarship and activism.


  1. ^ Parliament of the World's Religions (2016-12-07), Cultivation of Harmony Award - Dr. Zarni, retrieved 2017-09-08