The Burma Bucknell Connection

The Burma-Bucknell Weekends

From 1949 to 1966, there were sixteen Burma-Bucknell Weekends held once every academic year, organized by the Christian Association at Bucknell University. The Weekends began as a small get-together at the suggestion of Miss Helen Hunt, the daughter of former Bucknell president Emory W. Hunt and Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Rickard, a professor at the University of Rangoon and his wife. 

The Burma-Bucknell Weekends saw the organizers inviting Burmese students from nearby colleges and personnel from the Burmese embassy. The Christian Association also funded the travelling fees and connected guests with a host for the duration of their stay. This was done for all the Weekends, as a show of hospitality.

The Weekends came to a peak in 1958, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Weekends and the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Shaw Loo, Bucknell’s first international student. The celebration was the biggest one yet. The guests during the Weekend got to see the presentation of the Burma-Bucknell Bowl, a symbol of friendship between Burma and Bucknell, which still serves as an annual award for cultural understanding today. Also, in attendance was Elizbeth Shaw Loo, the daughter of Shaw Loo, who had been flown to America by the Asia Foundation for this event.

The Weekends started to decline in 1963, a year after the Burmese military took power of Burma. There were suddenly very few Burmese guests coming to the Weekends, and the Christian Association had financial difficulties putting on the event. Various institutions like the Asia Foundation also could not keep on supporting the event financially. They changed the Weekends to International Conferences, and in 1966, the “Conference on the People’s Republic of China in the Sixties” was held. Two more conferences on India and the United Nations were held afterwards, but in 1969, it was absorbed into the International Colloquy program along with other international programs.

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