Research Assistants

Team Nan Khaing Sandar Lwin_web

Nan Khaing Sandar Lwin

Nan, after acquiring a bachelor in nursing at the University of Nursing in Yangon, earned a diploma in public management at Myanmar Egress, currently one of the most dynamic and innovative institutions for higher education in Yangon, training young academics in the social sciences, management and languages. Nan works there as an English language instructor and as manager at the Scholarship Resource Centre. She has been a member of the election monitoring and voting education groups organized by Myanmar Egress.
Nan, who joined “Once the Buddha Was a Girl” from 2014-15, played an important role in the project’s ethnographic documentation of nadwin. She is currently pursuing her studies on a student scholarship at the AIT in Bangkok.


Team Alexander ONeill_web

Alexander O’Neill

Alexander, who is has worked in Taiwan, collaborating on an encyclopedia of Buddhist visual culture, is an undergraduate student of the History of Religion at the Department for Historical Studies at UofT’s Mississauga campus. He is studying Sanskrit and Pāli and has worked on Western and Buddhist philosophy. Alexander will be joining graduate school at the Department for the Study of Religion in fall 2014. His projected thesis will be on paratexts and the cult of the book in Mahāyāna, and more specifically Newar Buddhism.



Sunita Rajbandhari

Sunita, a well-known artist and cultural activist within the Newar community, besides being an emerging young academic, has worked as a poet, scriptwriter, director and film producer. Currently, Sunita is a student at the Department of Newar Language on the Patan Campus of Tribhuvan University, where she is graduating with a thesis on a Newar dance tradition of the Kathmandu Valley and is assisting in setting up and supervising a showroom for Newar culture. For our project Sunita builds on previous independent research of hers conducted on the Newar menarche ritual (bārhā).


Team Nutan Sharma_web

Nutan Sharma

Nutan Sharma, who holds a double MA from Tribhuvan University, is a senior researcher, renowned public intellectual and newspaper editor and publisher. While completing his PhD on the topography of Buddhism in Nepal, he can already look back at a long and productive career as a scholar of Nepalese history, anthropology, visual culture, urbanism and Indology and is an experienced collaborator in international research projects with the leading experts in Newar and Nepal Studies. Over the past years, Nutan has also worked on Buddhist and Hindu life-cycle rituals, including rituals for girl children.


Swe Swe Thet Htoo

Swe Swe Thet Htoo

Swe Swe Thet Htoo recieved her BA from Dagon University in 2010 and went on to acquire her diploma in English at the Yangon Co-operate Degree College. She enrolled in a social entrepreneurship course at Myanmar Egress and later worked as a training manger and assistant language instructor at the Myanmar Egress English Department, where she was asked to join the Curriculum Development Unit as a curriculum developer. She is a member of Myanmar Egress Alumni Association, the Hybrid Youth Group, and an alumnus of the Global Platform Myanmar. Swe Swe Thet Htoo can build upon a vast range of volunteer experiences, including those of a freelance trainer.



Thet Linn Wai

Thet Linn holds a bachelor in Physics from the University of Distance Education, Yangon, a Diploma in Development Studies from the Yangon Institute of Economics and is currently a candidate for a Diploma for International Relations at the University or Yangon. Thet Linn has worked in the IT business and as a training manager at Myanmar Egress and currently holds the position of a research assistant at the same institution. She has co-organized international workshops and brings with her a range of experiences as a field researcher in academic projects.


Team Quila Toews_web

Quila Toews

Quila is completing her undergraduate studies, majoring both in Buddhist Studies and Ethics. She has been studying Sanskrit, Pāli and Tibetan at the Department for the Study of Religion and soon will be adding Burmese to her languages. Quila has been admitted to graduate school, which she will attend starting fall 2014. She will be working on the role of Buddhism in Burmese literature authored by women between the 18th and the 20th centuries. Quila is President of “Inquire Publication”, a student-run, inter-university, social activist journal.