Interaction Humanitarian Award for EU ALUM

St. Davids, PA, May 11, 2012:  Eastern University graduate Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe, who earned her M.B.A. in economic development in 2004, has been chosen for the InterAction Humanitarian Award for 2012. The award is given in recognition of her leadership, peace-building activities and work with trafficked women and children in her native Burma/Myanmar.

Susanna has been in the U.S. to receive the award in Washington, D.C. and meet with officials in the U.S. State Department. She took time to stop by the Eastern University campus in St. Davids on May 9. "I was surprised and honored to receive this award," she said. "It is very timely since there is much interest in change in my country and this will help fuel my work there." While on campus, she met with Dr. David Black, President of Eastern University, and recalled fondly her graduation here as a day "of great joy and celebration."

InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), with more than 190 members working in every developing country.  Each year InterAction recognizes an individual whose work reflects important leadership qualities such as courage, initiative, creativity, grace under pressure, personal integrity, personal sacrifice, and who has made significant contributions in the developing world.

Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe is an advocate, activist and practitioner for the holistic well-being of women and children in Burma/Myanmar. She is the Executive Director of Karen Women Action Group (KWAG), a Yangon-based organization engaged in capacity building and empowerment training for women, and microfinance programs for families, education for children, and emergency relief for disaster-affected communities. While working as a community development supervisor at World Vision Myanmar, Naw Susanna actively volunteered at KWAG. With the passion to work more closely at the grassroots level and the desire to serve as a voice for the poor and women, Naw Susanna has devoted her work full-time to KWAG since 2010.

In addition to her work with KWAG, Naw Susanna is the chair of Women Organization’s Network of Myanmar (WON), an umbrella group of 27 local women's organizations. She is also a steering committee member of Women’s Protection Technical Working Group, a network of 50 organizations in Myanmar including UN agencies, international NGOs and CSOs collaborating on advocacy and government relation issues over the protection of women.

Before coming to Eastern University, Naw Susanna earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in zoology from Rangoon University in Myanmar. Her husband, Rev. Dr. Yaha Lay Lay La is a graduate of Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University.

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