An Address by H.E. U Thein Sein, President of Myanmar
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In 2011, a new, quasi-civilian government took power in Myanmar, and boldly began to implement democratic reforms which continue today. At the helm of this fluid and fragile transition is President Thein Sein, a former military Brigadier General who served as Prime Minister in the previous military government led by Senior General Than Shwe.
While little was known about what would transpire under Thein Sein's leadership, his inaugural address proved remarkable for its frank acknowledgment of the country's grave economic, social, and political problems and for his stated intention to seriously address them. His words were largely dismissed as window dressing designed to curry support from the international community. Yet within several months of his tenure, having engaged an advisory council of civilian experts in economic, political, and legal matters, he introduced a series of political, economic, and legal reforms, and the new Parliament began debating wide-ranging legislative reform. Thein Sein's historic meeting with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in August 2011 marked the beginning of a process of reconciliation between the government and its political opponents. As of April 2012, Suu Kyi holds a seat in Myanmar's Parliament.
Notwithstanding these remarkable changes, Thein Sein's government faces many challenges, chief among them are addressing the deep-seated grievances of the country's minority nationalities and delivering real improvements in quality of life to the poverty-stricken masses.
In his first public remarks in the United States, President Thein Sein will join us to share his views on Myanmar's reform process, the changes that have taken place during his tenure, his vision for a stable and prosperous Myanmar, and the many challenges and opportunities ahead.
Registration: 4:00-5:00 pm
Remarks and discussion: 5:00-6:15 pm