After a military junta ceded power to an elected government last year, singer Jason Mraz will become the first international act to headline an open-air concert in the nation when he plays at People's Square in Yangon on December 16, according to the Huffington Post.
Mraz is performing in the country to raise worldwide awareness about the horrors of human trafficking and exploitation. He became interested in the issues four years ago when he attended the Freedom Awards, which honors those who fight to put an end to human slavery.
"I thought this was something that was abolished when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but all it did is become hidden from our view," Mraz said.
The singer estimates that some 27 million people in the world are enslaved. He felt lending his voice to the cause was the right thing to do.
His set list, he says, is centered around the message of empowerment and education.
"I do curate a set list that I feel is going to be part of that educate, empower and engage (theme)," he said. "Obviously songs like `I'm Yours,' `I Won't Give Up' are great examples. Or `93 Million Miles' is a new one where it's about believing in yourself. And a lot of my songs are about that, about believing in yourself and really going for your dreams. Those are the kinds of songs I'll be playing at that show."
Less than two years ago such an event in Myanmar would have been unthinkable. But since President Thein Sein was elected, supplanting a military junta, the country is beginning the swing open the doors of democracy and free speech. On Monday, President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. President to ever visit the nation.
Mraz's concert will be hosted by MTV EXIT, the network's initiative to raise awareness about human trafficking and exploitation. It will feature local acts and air on MTV's International channel in 2013.