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Open Society Foundations Mourn the Passing of Dr. Wynn Thane, Executive Director of Open Society Myanmar

It is with great sorrow that the Open Society Foundations mark the passing of Dr. Wynn Thane, executive director of the Open Society Myanmar foundation, who died suddenly while traveling on business in Myanmar on June 23, 2019. 

In his almost three years at Open Society Myanmar, Wynn Thane demonstrated remarkable leadership, programming, and operational expertise in establishing the national foundation at an important moment in Myanmar’s democratic transition. Under his direction, the foundation advanced local civil society and government initiatives to broaden access to education, strengthen democratic practice, and promote justice. Wynn Thane’s efforts expanded and deepened two decades of previous work on Myanmar by the Open Society Foundations.  

“Wynn Thane was one of the brightest lights in the Open Society community,” commented Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations. “He leaves us at just 34 years old, with so much more to contribute to a world sorely in need of his extraordinary gifts.”

Wynn Thane’s unwavering commitment to the people of Myanmar was evident throughout his career. He worked passionately at the grassroots and policy level to bring about positive social and economic change for Myanmar’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. He had extensive experience in working with local communities, strengthening policy systems, and building networks for impact. 

Before joining Open Society Myanmar, Wynn Thane served as deputy country director of Pact Myanmar, one of the longest-serving international nongovernmental organizations in the country. A doctor by training, he received his medical degree from the University of Medicine, Magway, in Myanmar, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. 

“The country has lost something special in the passing of Wynn Thane,” said Binaifer Nowrojee, Asia Pacific Regional Director. “We will remember his joyful spirit and honor his memory by continuing the important work he began.”

Wynn Thane dedicated his life to helping others, and his example and legacy will be felt for many years to come.  

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