Rethinking Western Policy Towards Burma: Current Developments and Options for the Future — Historian and Former UN Official Thant Myint-U
In a public lecture, writer, historian, and former United Nations official Thant Myint-U will argue for a fresh approach to Burma’s problems.
Western policy towards Burma over the past 20 years has failed. Economic embargoes and severe restrictions on humanitarian and development assistance on one of the world’s poorest, most isolated, and most conflict-ridden countries has done little to foster democratic change. At the same time, Burma’s multiple armed conflicts and its pressing economic and social challenges have been virtually ignored.
In a public lecture, writer, historian, and former United Nations official Thant Myint-U will argue for a fresh approach to Burma’s problems, one based on a more rigorous understanding of the country’s recent history, the singular nature of the present military dictatorship, and the fast changing regional landscape.
Burma is now at a critical watershed, with an aging leadership, ever closer relations with China, and an imminent generational transition within the all-powerful armed forces. The next 12-18 months will undoubtedly be the most important in Burmese politics in at least a generation and as good a time as any to think out of the box and fundamentally reassess Western policy.
Please join us at the International Development Research Centre for the lecture by Thant Myint-U, “Rethinking Western Policy Towards Burma: Current Developments and Options for the Future.”
Thant Myint-U received his PhD in modern history from Cambridge University, where he taught Asian and British imperial history from 1996 to 2000. He served on three United Nations peacekeeping operations in the 1990s, in Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia. He later served with the UN Secretariat in New York (2000-2006), most recently as the head of policy planning in the Department of Political Affairs.
Thant Myint-U is the author of two books, The Making of Modern Burma (2000) and the critically acclaimed The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma (2006). He has written extensively for newspapers and magazines and held visiting fellowships at Harvard University, the International Peace Institute in New York, and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. He is the grandson of two-term United Nations Secretary-General U Thant.
The lecture is free but seating is limited, so please register.
The event will also be webcast live at www.idrc.ca/events-burma (at 2:00, Ottawa time).
French and English simultaneous interpretation will be available.
When: Monday, November 30, 2009, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
Where: IDRC, W. David Hopper Room A, 150 Kent Street, 8th floor, Ottawa, ON
Information: 613 696-2101