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Yale SEAM talks about the collaboration with Parami students to publish ‘Reflections’

Yale SEAM talks about the collaboration with Parami students to publish ‘Reflections’
Philomena, a member of SEAM at Yale University

In late May 2023, the student-led Social Issues Club (SIC) at Parami University and Southeast Asian Movement (SEAM) at Yale University jointly published a publication called 'Reflections.' This is the second collaboration between students and faculty from Parami University and Yale University, following the hybrid seminar class at Yale campus joined by Parami students virtually in the spring semester.

SEAM is a student-led club at Yale University that aims to provide a platform for students and academic practitioners to exchange knowledge and discuss about Southeast Asia in and beyond the United States. Philomena, a member of SEAM who was involved in this publication, shared her reflections on the opportunity to work with the students from Parami University on the 'Reflections.'

Q: Tell us about the SIC x SEAM - Parami x Yale collaboration.

A: The SIC x SEAM - Parami x Yale collaboration came about during my early meetings with Dr. David Moe (a Henry Hart Rice Postdoctoral Associate in Southeast Asian Studies at Yale University), Dr. Kyaw Moe Tun (a Yale alumnus and president of Parami University), and Laixen (a member of SIC). From our meetings, there was an apparent mutual desire for collaboration between Yale University and Parami University. With myself having recently joined the publication branch of SEAM, Laixen and I were able to continue brainstorming ideas on how to best collaborate, which eventually gave birth to “Reflections,” a journal in which Parami students could submit art, poems, prose, etc. reflecting on the past few years, their hopes and frustrations, and their dreams for the future.

Being a daughter of Shan and Chin immigrants, I can’t deny that there was a personal greedy interest in wanting to know more about my fellow peers in Myanmar, and considering the first-hand experience of the lack of Burmese representation in Western media as well as the community on Yale campus, it was important to me that the publication was made up of Parami-student voices in order to highlight the lives and experiences of Burmese Gen Z. Taking into careful consideration the political climate the students are still living in, we decided to allow students to use pseudonyms in order to protect their identity. With the help of another one of my fellow editors, Catherine Kausikan, and the dedication of SIC and all the students who allowed us a glimpse into their life, we were able to publish SEAM’s very 2nd journal: “Reflections” on May 16th, 2023.

Q: How is it important for SEAM to participate in this publication?

A: Considering how SEAM was founded on the need to celebrate and lift the lives and voices of fellow Southeast Asians, especially being minorities in the United States, the importance of “Reflections” lies in the content it contains. As Western media has seemed to “abandon”/move on from Myanmar, “Reflections” was created as an opportunity for students of Parami University to reflect on the past few years of their life–not to be shown as a pity case as the media had often portrayed but as real people with real lives, dreams, hopes, and frustrations…not just dwelling on the past but active in the present and sharing their future. By participating in this publication, SEAM hopes to raise more awareness and bring their voices and lives to a larger global audience.

Q: What does SEAM do?

A: SEAM (Southeast Asian Movement) @ Yale is a student organization with the purpose of uniting the greater Southeast Asian community on campus through events such as Southeast Asian cinema screenings, fundraisers, and the Lotus Gala (which was hosted for the first time in spring 2023). SEAM also has a publication branch that conducts interviews with scholars on Southeast Asia and Southeast Asian creators (under our SEAMseries), as well as publishes journals from student submissions and beyond. Ultimately, SEAM aims to celebrate the diaspora found on the Yale campus while advancing the discussion of all things related to Southeast Asia in and beyond the United States.

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