U Thant’s house opens to public

Nay Myo Win
People visit U Thant museum in Kamayut Township

In commemoration of former United Nations’ secretary-general U Thant’s 109th birthday, the U Thant museum in Kamayut Township opened to the public from January 22.

The normal opening days will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On his birthday, which falls on January 28, a memorial service will be held at the museum.

U Thant served as UN secretary-general from 1961 to 1971. During his tenure, he helped defuse the Cuban missile crisis, which brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war. He also helped end a civil war in the Congo.

He and his family lived in the two-storey colonial-style house from 1951-57 when he was Secretary to then Burmese Prime Minster U Nu, before leaving the country to serve as Burma’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York in 1957.

For many years, the house was in a state of deterioration. In 2012, Dr Thant Myint Oo, grandson of U Thant, requested this house from the then president Thein Sein and in 2015, it was opened as a museum.

“We hope this place not only a museum but also a place where students can gain knowledge about U Thant as well as human rights, development, and peace,” said Dr Thant Myint Oo.

Now open to the public, the U Thant House is mostly decorated with photos of the life and work of the former secretary-general. U Thant died of cancer in 1974.