Ko Ko Lay, an exile Burmese activist currently in the United States, continues struggling for peace, social justice and freedom in Burma. While a final year philosophy student, he was one of the student leaders who organized a popular people's uprising in Burma on August 8, 1988. On September 18, 1988, the Burmese military brutally cracked down the nationwide peaceful demonstrations and took power. More than 3,000 students and civilians were shot and killed in the streets of many cities and thousands of activists were arrested and tortured by the Burmese military regime.
Consequently, more than 10,000 students left Burma and formed All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) on the Thai Burma border after the military regime coup. Ko Ko Lay was elected as a member of the Central Executive Committee of ABSDF and served as a Secretary of Information. After his two terms of service in ABSDF, he decided to continue his studies and migrated to the U.S.
Ko Ko has achieved an A.S. degree in Photography, a B.A. degree in Industrial Design, and Global Peace and a M.A.I.A degree in, Social Change Design and Conflict Resolution with an emphasis in International Conflicts. He is a founder of Open Students Network for Burma at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Ko Ko has also served his third term as a member of the Strategic Coordinating Committee, the only worldwide Burmese coalition group including the National Coalition Government of Union of Burma (NCGUB) and National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB).
In fall 2007, the last semester of his Master program, Ko Ko was the only one in his entire University selected by the President of SFSU for the Congressional Internship Program in Washington D.C. sponsored by Sylvia and Leon Panetta Institute. Ko Ko served at the office of Congressman Tom Lantos in Washington D.C and had the opportunity to participate in organizing the Congressional Human Rights Caucus (CHRC) regarding Burma issues and the process of introducing the Jade Bill at the U.S. Congress. Later on, the Burma Jade Bill was signed by President George W. Bush and became law.
In spring 2008, as a representative of 88 Generation Students Exile group, Ko Ko went on an Asia Five Countries Tour to organize against the undemocratic constitution and referendum held by the Burmese military during the time when the Cyclone Nagis hit Burma. In fall 2008, he ran as an Operation Director for the Credential Challenge campaign challenging the credential of the Burmese military regime at the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Currently he is serving as a Director of the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) in San Francisco and a core member of 88 Generation Students Exile. Ko Ko has opened his photo and design studio and is running his own business for his living in San Francisco.
Through sharing his first-hand personal experiences and knowledge of Burma. Ko Ko helps raise awareness about the Burmese student movements, the struggle for democracy, human rights issues and the consequences of oil production in Burma. Topics covered
Anti-Dictatorship, Democracy, Human Rights and Social Justice Movements in Burma
Consequences of Militarism in Burma
Impacts of Oil Production in Burma
If you would like to plan a speaking event with KoKo, please contact him at kokophoto [at] yahoo.com or (415) 203-0541.