Statue Honoring First Chin University Graduates to be Erected in Falam

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A copper statue of the first two ethnic Chin students to earn Bachelor’s degrees will be placed outside a Falam high school this month.

The Global Falam Youth Organization (GFYO) is preparing for the launch of the statue of Pu Liah Luai and Pi Hlawn Kip Thluai. GFYO secretary Van Bawi Lian said that the statue is being erected to inspire a new generation of Chin youth to pursue their education and spark an interest in their people’s history.

“Our youth have forgotten history. We have tried to set up the statue of these Falam students, who are the first graduates of the Falam Chin tribe, because we want our new generation to know about them,” he explained. “Our message is that education is so important and our youth need to try their best.”

According to Van Bawi Lian, the organization hopes that Chin State’s chief minister and social affairs minister will be present at the opening ceremony, but their participation is as of yet unconfirmed.

Pu Siah Luai, born in 1916, was the first Chin man to graduate with his BA from Rangoon University in 1938. He was the grandson of Chin revolutionary hero Capt Cuem Beik. He also earned his B.Ed in 1941 and later served as Chin State’s education director. He died in 1973.

Pi Hlawn Kip Thluai was the first Chin woman to get her BA from Rangoon University in 1960. She is the daughter of Zerhoung and Hual Ngol tribe leader Pu Thang Sing Liang. She continued her studies abroad, then worked as a teacher in Falam, Hakha, and Mindat townships in Chin State as well as in Sagaing and Pathein. She taught English for 30 years, and currently lives in the United States.

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