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Myanmar/Burma: Inside Challenges, Outside Interests
Thursday, October 7, 2010, 12:30 – 2:00 pm
The Brookings Institution, Somers Room, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC
Myanmar—formerly Burma—will hold its first election in 20 years on November 7. The National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won a resounding victory in the 1990 election, but the military regime refused to recognize the results and has kept her under house arrest for most of the past 20 years. Myanmar’s military rulers have also blocked socio-economic progress among its population of more than 50 million people.
The decision by the Myanmar’s military regime to hold elections cannot be seen as a meaningful step in a transition to democracy since the country’s election laws and regulations ensure that the process will not be free, fair or inclusive. Nevertheless, the election represents a thawing in a political landscape that has been frozen for 20 years. It poses new challenges for United States, which is seeking to promote democracy globally and to strengthen bilateral and multilateral relations with Asia.
On October 7, the Brookings Institution Press and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation will co-host a discussion on Myanmar’s upcoming elections and the recently published book, Myanmar/Burma: Inside Challenges, Outside Interests (Brookings Press). Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Lex Rieffel, the book’s editor, will provide opening remarks and moderate the discussion. Other panelists will include: Matt Frei, anchor for BBC World News America, who will offer reflections based on his interviews with Aung San Suu Kyi from the 1990s; Raymond Gilpin, chief economist at the U.S. Institute of Peace, who will address the case of Myanmar as a conflict country where economic progress might enable political reconciliation; and Jessica Lee, House Committee on Foreign Affairs professional staff member, who will comment on U.S. policy toward Myanmar in light of her recent visit to the country.
After their remarks, panelists will take audience questions. Sandwiches and beverages will be served.
Nonresident Senior Fellow
The Brookings Institution
BBC World News America
Associate Vice President
Sustainable Economies Center of Innovation
U.S. Institute of Peace
Professional Staff Member
Southeast Asia and Pacific Region
House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Majority
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