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Advisory Board of Canadian Friends of Burma – Biography of Council Members

Murray Thomson

Lawyer, Ottawa

Since early 1990s he supported for Democracy in Burma, and helped establish the Canadian Friends of Burma in 1991. He is also a co-founder of more than seven national and international peace and social justice organizations, including: Project Ploughshares, The Group of 78, Peace Brigades International, and Canadian Seniors for Social Responsibility. Murray has spent more than four decades working in the field of peace, social justice and international development.

His personal convictions, combined with his enjoyment of the work and his perception of the urgent needs throughout the world, has led him to be awarded the Pearson Peace Medal, in recognition of his lifetime spent working to achieve justice and peace for all people.

Harn Yawnghwe

Director, Euro-Burma Office, Brussels

Harn Yawnghwe is the son of Sao Shwe Thaike, the last hereditary ruler of the Shan principality of Yawnghwe and the first president of the Republic of the Union of Burma.

Harn received his early education in Burma; he studied in Thailand and then Canada, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering and an MBA from McGill University.

Through the years, Harn has faithfully served Burma’s pro-democracy movement in a variety of capacities. He was editor of Burma Alert, a monthly news digest; advisor to Dr. Sein Win, Prime Minister of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB); and managing director of the Democratic Voice of Burma, which makes daily news broadcasts to Burma in Burmese and seven ethnic languages.

In February 1997, he became director of the Euro-Burma Office in Brussels, Belgium. This project was created to help the Burmese democracy movement prepare for a transition to a democratic government.

Penny Sanger

Writer and activist, Ottawa

She had the exceptional luck, as a friend and co-worker of Murray Thomson, to visit and travel in Burma with Harn Yawnghwe, Paul Copeland and others in Burma in 1992. On her return she worked to make the plight of many Burmese known across Canada, and to influence the department of Foreign Affairs to take action on their behalf. 

As coordinator of Canadian Friends of Burma she traveled, wrote and spoke about the Burmese then suffering under military oppression, urged an end to trade relations between Burma and Canada, and argued for sanctions.  Her dream is one day to return to a democratic Burma – to travel its rivers, visit its temples and meet again, in their villages and homes, the brave and gentle people of Burma.

During her tenure, she received Thakore Foundation Award for Burmese Democracy.

Bush Gulati

Professor Emeritus, George Brown College, Toronto

Professor Gulati is active with the pro-democracy movement of Burmese exiles since 1986, serving in various individual and organizational capacities. He was the advisor to the late Prime Minister U Nu in his pro-democracy campaigns; Director, Foundation for Democracy in Burma; Chair, Committee for Restoration of Democracy in Burma (Canada Chapter).  

Professor Gulati was an instructor, and then Professor of English,  George Brown College, Toronto (1968-2002); Educated at  universities in Mandalay and Delhi  and  at  York  University in Toronto. Today, Professor Gulati is a member of the Canadian Representative of National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (in exile) at its inception, and Founder/Convener, Toronto Burma Roundtable.  

Elizabeth Shepherd

Actress, Toronto


She has strong attachment to Burma and Burmese people, as she spent many years in Burma with her parents when she was a child.  She is a founder of Toronto Burma Roundtable and organized a number of events for Burma in Toronto.

Ms. Shepherd has performed in many of the country’s major venues and has had an extensive career in television and cinema. She has played leads at the Stratford and Shaw Festival as well as in The Cherry Orchard, Breaking the Code, Tartuffe, A Delicate Balance, and a solo performance in Immediate Family in Toronto.. She has performed often in Montreal at Centaur Theatre (Old Times, Kennedy’s Children, The Seagull, A Streetcar Named Desire) and Saidye Bronfman Centre (Passion Play, My Mother’s Courage).

At the NAC in Ottawa she appeared in The Coronation Voyage. Recent roles include Miss Havisham (Derby Playhouse, UK), Flora Humble in Humble Boy (Calgary & Edmonton), Fonsia Dorsey in The Gin Game (Louisville, Kentucky), Gloria Temple in December Fools (off-Broadway,NY), currently Honor in Honour (Victoria, Winnipeg). Latest TV: Margaret Thatcher in Shades of Black. Movies include: The Tomb of Ligeia, Damien:Omen 2, Criminal Law, Desire. 


Press Releases/Statements and News

Burma Parliamentary delegation expected in Canada

CFOB statement on latest communal violence in Burma

What more can Canada do in Burma? - Tin Maung Htoo

Burma’s Kachin seek Canadian support

Staying true for human rights for all - Rebecca Wolsak

Why Inter Pares is wrong on Burma - Tin Maunng Htoo

CFOB concerned with Kachin conflicts in northern Burma

CFOB 2012 Annual Report released!

Statement on CFOB AGM on Dec. 15, 2012

Burmese Civil Society Organizations Dismayed by Inter Pares

CFOB AGM on Dec. 15 in Toronto

Minister Jason Kenney to Meet with Prominent Buddhist Monk

CFOB in Crisis with Rohingya in Burma

Baird Concerned about Renewed Violence in Rekhine State

Burmese Foreign Minister Queitly Visited to Canada

CFOB Policy Statement: “Navigating the thaw: Burma-Canada Relations in 2012 and beyond”

Over 70 Canadians and Burmese activists cleared from 'Blacklist'

Revised: Canada Calls for Peaceful Solution in Arakan state of Burma

Advocating humanitarian assistance to Kachin IDPs in Burma

Parliamentary Testimony with Aung Din (USCB)

Parliamentary Testimony with Tin Maung Htoo (CFOB)

Minister Kenney Surprises Burmese Community with Announcement

Minister Jason Kenney to meet with Burmese community leaders in Toronto

Policy Consultation on Burma

Burma Day - Celebrating 20th of CFOB

Long-time Burma supporter Brian John passed away

CFOB pleased by prisoners release but more reform needed

CFOB Welcomes Fine For Firm That Illegally Exported Plane to Burma

CFOB Welcomes U.S Secretary of States Visit to Burma

CFOB Saddend by the Loss of Jack Layton

Cross Canada bike ride for Burma reaching to final destination

Ivanhoe received US$103 million from Burma's copper mines

Burmese President accepts credentials of Canadian Ambassador to Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi supports UN commission of inquiry on Burma

Transfer of Ivanhoe's Burmese assets to weapons firm must be probed

Canada Sends Best Wishes to Aung San Suu Kyi on Her Birthday

66th Birthday Events of Aung San Suu Kyi in Canada

Suu Kyi to be honored on Canada Day in Côte Saint-Luc

Cross-Canada Bike Ride for Burma

Suu Kyi addresses to Conference on ‘Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict’

New Burmese Ambassador to Canada: a messenger for new regime in Burma?

Media coverage on detained Canadian in Burma

Suu Kyi to deliver video message at Carleton University

Carleton University to Honour Aung San Suu Kyi

Canada to Support 'Commission of Inquiry' on Burma's rights violations

Canada to Renew humanitarian support

Canada to welcome additional 1,300 Karen Refugees from Thai-Burma Border

CFOB Welcomes Opposition Party Calling for Economic Sanctions

Two events today in Toronto and Vancouver to mark DSSAK Day

CFOB applauds government and Parliament for granting Honorary Citizenship for Suu Kyi, and urges more action on Burma

CFOB welcomes throne speech to honor Suu Kyi with Honorary Citizenship

Canada Welcomes Statement by the United Nations Security Council on Burma

More news...

Annual Reports

2012 Annual Report

2011 Annual Report

2010 Annual Report

2009 Annual Report

2008 Annual Report

2006 Annual Report

2005 Annual Report


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