President Thein Sein’s advisory board has a curious mix of people, civilians and military men, ranging from U Myint, a well-regarded economist to the DSA-educated Ko Ko Hlaing. Among the political advisors, I found Dr. Nay Zin Latt (emphasis on Dr.) to be the most interesting. I watched him struggle through an English language interview with the Wall Street Journal and wondered how he could have possibly gotten a doctorate in the United States, if he struggled to express even the simplest ideas. Throughout the interview, he was simply repeating boilerplate sentences. Transcript here.
According to the Democratic Voice of Burma, Nay Zin Latt apparently holds an MBA from “Adam University” in the United States.
The only Adam University I could find was in Denver, Colorado. I know fake diploma scandals make headlines in Asia, from Korean celebrities to Buddhist monks. It’s interesting to see the relationship between educational status and society, in places like Burma. Burmese wedding invitations commonly print out the educational qualifications of the bride and groom and their parents (if worth noting). I know certainly, for my own aunts’ and uncles’ weddings, a “M.B.,B.S.” degree was worth plastering in huge lettering on the reception hall’s stage. But I could find no other information (location, degrees offered, etc.) about “Adam University”, aside from reports and government documents regarding its accreditation status. That school had failed to meet Colorado state accreditation in 2009, after given 2 extensions to get accredited:
This item recommends that the Commission revoke of probationary authorization for Adam University to operate in Colorado because the University has failed to fulfill accreditation requirements.
The Commission granted Adams University probationary authorization on January 10, 2005, on the condition that it to pursue accreditation with a U.S. Department of Education recognized accreditation body within 24 months. The Department of Higher Education granted Adams University two extensions since the initial authorization, but it is not yet accredited.
– Colorado Commission on Higher Education (report)
Looking for similarly-named universities, I found one called “Adam Smith University,” which is another unaccredited diploma mill that offers doctorate degrees.
Mr. Weisman’s former boss at Mercy wouldn’t be bothered in the least by his extracurricular activities. That’s because Donald Grunewald, a onetime president of Mercy who is now a business professor at Iona College, runs his own unaccredited institution, called Adam Smith University.
Adam Smith’s degrees are a bargain compared with International University’s. Mr. Grunewald charges $2,500 for a bachelor’s and $3,000 for a Ph.D. He declines to say how many students Adam Smith enrolls, only that the number is “very small.” The university has no full-time professors, although some faculty members from other institutions sometimes read papers and help students, he says.
– “Psst. Wanna Buy a Ph.D.?”, The Chronicle of Higher Education (link)
As I searched more and more, I came across a blog called “Hall of Shame for Burmese Fake PhDs”, where I found an post dedicated to Nay Zin Latt, which concludes this: “While I will give benefits of doubts to the presidential advisor, I think he is also a fake doctor who has purchased papers from diploma mills.” I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this site, but it did link me to a slideshow presentation that Nay Zin Latt purportedly held in India in 2010. There, he’s listed as having the following degrees:
B.Arch, H.G.P, DA, Dip. Eng, MBA, EMBA, DBA (UK), DBA (US), Ph.D
I tried in vain to find any citation or dissertation of Nay Zin Latt’s, even though he’s listed as holding a Doctorate of Business Administration. I wish I could give him benefit of the doubt, but until he releases his thesis or provides substantial evidence to the contrary, I can’t help but have second thoughts about his expertise and integrity.
Odd. Fishy fishy..