Partners Asia brings together dedicated professionals with deep experience and knowledge in working with Myanmar communities. Since the 1990s, the Foundation for the People of Burma, John P. Hussman Foundation, and Burma Lifeline have provided assistance to Myanmar communities in need, with their work made possible largely through the stalwart support of individual contributors. Sharing similar values and goals, these groups recognized the benefits of collaboration and linked their work through this organization, Partners Asia. Members of our Board of Directors and staff have strong and long-standing relationships with people in Myanmar and Thailand, and our staff in these countries are from the region. Partners Asia is a quiet advocate: We have made connections with and between high-level policy makers and technical experts, to engage in the policy discussions on Burma through quiet diplomacy.
Board of Directors
Hal Nathan - Chairman
Hal, who founded the Foundation for the People of Burma in 1999, has dedicated much of the past two decades to strengthening civil society through locally run projects focused on community development, health, education, women’s empowerment, and leadership training. Partners Asia continues the mission of Foundation for the People of Burma, serving the most vulnerable people of Burma – Myanmar no matter their religion or ethnicity. Hal travels to Burma at least twice a year to assess existing projects and current needs. In his professional life, Hal served as a partner and senior portfolio manager at Seneca Capital Management, an institutional money-management firm in San Francisco. Hal received his PhD in monetary economics from the University of California and worked in finance for nearly 30 years, teaching at Michigan State University and UC Davis and serving as an economist at Continental Illinois Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, and the Office of the Controller of the Currency in Washington DC. As an environmental activist and practicing Buddhist, Hal has also served on the boards of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory and Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Jane spent more than 15 years in the IT sector, working on systems design, development, sales, and support for several corporations in the San Francisco Bay Area. During that time she became involved with non-profit agencies and for the last 27 years has had the privilege of serving on a variety of boards around the country. She has extensive fundraising and board governance experience and continues her involvement with organizations in San Francisco, Seattle, and Connecticut.
Elena has worked extensively as both a financial management consultant and Director of Finance/Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for a variety of nonprofits in the Bay Area for the past 22 years. She has managed multi-million dollar budgets, assisted nonprofits in restructuring their finance departments, improving systems (both technical and financial) and hiring the appropriate permanent staff. Elena joined the staff of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco as Director of Finance in 2007. She currently holds this position as well as Strategic Planning Implementation Manager. Prior to her work with nonprofit organizations, Elena spent 14 years working for BankAmerica Cheque Corporation and three years with Helm Financial Corp. She holds a BA in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley.
Pwint is a telecommunications industry consultant who grew up in Burma – Myanmar. Pwint’s family was among the thousands that fled to Thailand in 1988. Pwint was the first recipient of a Prospect Burma scholarship, which was established using the prize money Aung San Suu Kyi donated after winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She has served as a mobile innovation and product development specialist at Clearwire and T-Mobile and as a project manager and engineer at Agilent Technologies and Hewlett-Packard. When Cyclone Nargis struck in 2008, Pwint coordinated shipments of over 12 million water purification tablets into Burma – Myanmar and supported financially small nonprofits helping cyclone survivors. Understanding the plight of refugees, Pwint and her husband, Simon Khin, help newly resettled refugees rebuild their lives in the United States. Pwint studied at the University of Washington, Northwestern University, and Harvard Business School.
Jack trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India, and Burma – Myanmar. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology, and is a husband and father. His books include A Path with Heart; Buddha’s Little Instruction Book; Teachings of the Buddha; Seeking the Heart of Wisdom; Living Dharma; A Still Forest Pool; Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace; and The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology.
Tin-Wa graduated first class from St. Paul High School in Rangoon with distinction in chemistry. He graduated with distinction in chemistry and mathematics from University of Rangoon where he served as vice-captain of the Amateur Boxing Club and captain of the Boat Club, leading a team of oarsmen to compete in Calcutta and Singapore. Tin-Wa earned his MS in pharmacy from Ohio State University, his PhD in Natural Products and Pharmaceutical Chemistry from University of Pittsburgh and served as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at University of California. As an assistant professor at University of Illinois Medical Center and senior investigator on a National Cancer Institute contract, Tin-Wa published more than 30 original research papers and discovered 10 new natural compounds. Tin-Wa is currently Chairman and Technical Director of PharmChem Inc., a pharmaceutical company involved in anti-cancer, anti-malaria, and anti-diabetes research and development. He has also founded two companies: Nortech Laboratories, Ltd., a R&D firm in San Francisco specializing in sound system technology and Research and Consulting Associates at Newport Beach, CA. Tin-Wa has served on the Board of Directors of General Optics Technologies and currently serves as a Director for Newport Technologies. He serves on the advisory boards of BonusTree.com, Inc. and Wisebuy.com. His many honors and activities include consulting with the American Indian Tribes of Northern California to develop a program on health food and pharmaceutical products on reservations and membership in Sigma Xi (US National Research Honor Society) and Rho Chi (Pharmaceutical Research Honor Society).
Eileen’s deep experience in philanthropy and community development includes her current role as Development Director at the Center for Environmental Health and more than 15 years with the American Himalayan Foundation where she served as Program Director, overseeing a portfolio of 150 partnerships that provide vital education, health care, cultural, and environmental preservation in the Himalayan region. She was instrumental in developing one of AHF’s flagship projects — an anti-trafficking program which has a current enrollment of 10,000 high-risk girls in Nepal. Her lifelong commitment to improving the human condition led her to participate in establishing the All Stars Talent Show Network — an anti-violence program for youth — in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000. She joined the Board of the Foundation for the People of Burma in 2006 and continues to serve as a Director for Partners Asia, bringing her years of experience as a nonprofit manager to this growing and successful organization.
Therese has worked with refugees, migrants, and displaced persons in Southeast Asia for more than 30 years together with community-based organizations, international bodies, foundations, and academic institutions. Her work has emphasized building leadership and skills in local communities and contributing to policies that shift resources responsibly to the local level where they are most needed. Therese has published on the wide range of vulnerabilities faced by mobile populations. She emphasizes participatory approaches to conducting research and development projects. Therese has a Master’s degree in Public Health from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and is currently on faculty with University of Washington, Seattle University, and Thammasat University.
Sumi manages programmatic and internal operations at Partners Asia. She coordinates efforts between project partners in the region, programs staff, and the US office, helping to ensure the efficient management and allocation of program and operational funds. Before moving to San Francisco, Sumi spent time in Washington, DC as well as various parts of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Western Europe. Sumi has experience in academic publishing, financial and macroeconomic analysis, and in international organizations. Sumi holds a Master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies with concentrations in Southeast Asia Studies and International Economics and a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University.
Myanmar Programs Director
Zunetta speaks fluent Burmese and has been involved in Burma advocacy work at official and nongovernmental levels for more than 20 years. She has lived in Myanmar for long periods, notably in the 1980s when she was conducting research for a PhD in anthropology. She has advised governments and UN bodies, academics, and international NGOs and has written discussion papers for numerous international conferences. Zunetta worked on human rights issues in Burma for many years, before becoming involved with Foundation for the People of Burma in 2009. She is also the Chair of the International Advisory Board of the Yangon Heritage Trust. Zunetta holds a Master’s in International Relations with an emphasis on development from Plymouth University and a Bachelor’s First Class in Social Anthropology with Burmese language and literature from SOAS, London University.
Rocco helps to keep Partners Asia working smoothly by providing IT and communications support to staff and board members. He coordinates communications and operations between staff, board members, and donors, to ensure that more people hear about, and support our programs. Before joining Partners Asia, Rocco was a Program Assistant/AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer with Social Venture Partners Seattle. He also has extensive international experience, having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mauritania (environmental educator, 2007-2009) and Liberia (high school science teacher, 2009-2010), and as a USAID intern (Ethiopia, 2011). Rocco holds a Master’s in Public Administration from The University of Vermont’s Department of Community Development and Applied Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.