Assigning Special Envoys to Burma

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi recently called on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to name a full-time envoy to Burma. Last week Ban indicated he is still considering whether to move forward with replacing Vijay Nambiar, his chief of staff who has been filling the role on an interim basis for over a year now.“This is absolutely the right time to appoint a U.N. envoy dedicated to improving conditions in Burma,” says Suzanne DiMaggio, Asia Society’s Vice President for Global Policy Programs. “Although Burma’s military leaders continue to maintain control following the deeply flawed elections of November 2010, it remains unclear to what extent new actors participating in the parliament and state legislatures will have room to maneuver. Every effort should be made to ramp up dialogue with all facets of Burmese society as well as with the country’s neighbors. There are indications that the Obama administration will soon announce the appointment of a U.S. Special Representative for Burma, which would offer an important opportunity to better coordinate efforts to facilitate expanded engagement with a wide range of groups inside the country, including military leaders, people within the new political system, and ethnic and opposition groups.”

Suzanne, who is based in New York, is Director of the Asia Society’s Task Force on U.S. Policy toward Burma/Myanmar. To arrange an interview, contact the Asia Society communications department at 212-327-9271 or