Burma/Myanmar Chief of Party Paul Guerin Receives Prestigious Order of the British Empire Award

OBE Acknowledges Leadership Role in Promoting Democracy in Burma/Myanmar


IFES Burma/Myanmar Chief of Party Paul Guerin (center) and other members of the IFES Burma/Myanmar team at the 2015 National Post-Election Conference.
Publication Date: 
4 Jan 2017

News Type:

The following is a statement from Bill Sweeney, President and CEO of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES): 

“IFES congratulates Burma/Myanmar Chief of Party Paul Guerin on receiving an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for supporting fair and democratic elections in Burma. 

On December 31, 2016, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) announced 76 awards for Britons in recognition of exceptional service to Britain overseas. The Diplomatic Service and Overseas New Year 2017 Honors List recognizes extraordinary people in a range of fields overseas including voluntary and charitable work, education, health, assistance to British nationals overseas, the arts and conservation. 

The official FCO statement read as following: 

‘In 2015, in the run-up to Burma’s first democratic elections in over 50 years, he was a key figure in the International Community’s support to those elections. He was responsible for the essential technical and political reforms that were required in advance of polling day. That the elections were recognized as so successful is due in no small part to Paul’s hard work and perseverance. Paul’s work in Burma is the culmination of over 20 years dedicated to promoting democracy. Highlights of his career include providing long-term technical assistance to electoral management bodies in Indonesia 2003-4, East Timor 2001, Tanzania 2000, Cambodia 1998, Croatia 1997, Bosnia and Herzegovina 1996, South Africa and Mozambique in 1994 and organizing historic elections in Cambodia in 1993 and the popular consultation in East Timor in 1999.

On learning of his award Paul Guerin said, ‘I am deeply honored to receive this award and it has been a privilege to work with so many dedicated people who contributed to Burma’s historic elections. I would also like to pay tribute to the Burmese people whose perseverance and hope is an inspiration to all of us.’ 

The 2015 election in Burma/Myanmar was a historic moment for democracy in the Southeast Asian nation. Since 2013, Guerin has led a team of 45 global election professionals who assisted the Union Election Commission (UEC) of Burma/Myanmar in its efforts to involve other key local stakeholders, including civilsociety organizations – particularly those representing historically disenfranchised communities such as women, youth and people with disabilities – political parties and the media, in the electoral process. IFES also supported the design and implementation of the first digitized voter registry in the history of the country.

Paul’s OBE is an unparalleled commendation and confirmation of the value of his work leading the IFES team in Burma to fulfill our aspiration of a vote for every voice. 

IFES worked with the Burma/Myanmar UEC and civil society organizations under the ‘Support to the Electoral Process in Myanmar’ program funded by the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and under the ‘Elections and Political Processes Assistance’ program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.” 


IFES supports citizens’ right to participate in free and fair elections. Our independent expertise strengthens electoral systems and builds local capacity to deliver sustainable solutions. Since 1987, IFES has worked in over 145 countries – from developing democracies, to mature democracies. For more information, visit www.IFES.org.