About the Award


Established in 2008 by Inge Sargent (Sao Thusandi), the former Mahadevi of Hsipaw, the Sao Thusandi Leadership Award honors young people from Shan State who are working towards community development, peace and democracy in Shan State, particularly those working to preserve local customs and culture.

USD $4,000 is given to the awardee. There have been fortheen award winners so far, working in diverse fields including legal assistance, health, education, environment and community rights.

Award Purpose

The purpose of the award is "to honor young people from Shan State who are committed to taking a leadership role in establishing a democratic, peaceful and thriving Shan State,” and “to encourage and support the awardees in their work to uphold local customs and culture, and to inspire others in Shan State to follow their example in pursuit of a democratic society in their homeland, which presents opportunities for all.”

Eligibility for Award

Award candidates must have demonstrated a capacity for leadership in their community. They must also have shown an appreciation for democratic processes in promoting community development projects. They must be 35 years of age or younger on December 31st of the current year, and they cannot have received this award before. They must have been born in the Shan State and have the desire to live in Shan State when that is possible.

Guidelines for Application

A complete nomination includes the following:

  • Completed application form, filled in by nominator. (Please note that individuals may not nominate themselves.)
  • Two letters of reference for the candidate. Letters of recommendation should highlight why the individual is being recommended for the award and how long the nominator has been aware of the individual’s contributions.

* All applications will be handled with the utmost confidentiality, given the dire security situation in Burma. Identities of any applicant or award recipients will not be disclosed publicly without the express approval of the applicant him/herself.