What Happened to Myanmar?VIEW EVENT DETAILS
Asia: Beyond the Headlines
In 2015, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy scored an overwhelming victory at the polls, ushering in hope for the country’s political and economic transition from harsh military rule to a leadership with respect for democracy and human rights. Four years on, Myanmar's great hope has failed to live up to expectations. The transition was never going to be easy — among many challenges, the military is still guaranteed 25 percent of seats in the national assemblies, and a number of violent internal conflicts within the country persist to this day. Critics claim that civil liberties and press freedoms have been curtailed even under the new government, and most notably, close to one million Rohingya have fled the country, from what the UN high commissioner for human rights has described as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
How did Myanmar transform from a nation cheered for its new democracy to a nation charged with condoning crimes against humanity? Thant Myint-U has been an insider and outsider, witness to the turmoil in his own country and also the global reaction to it. His new book, The Hidden History of Burma, is a powerful and provocative look at the country, its leaders, and the tough questions surrounding its unsettling transformation.
Thant Myint-U is Chairman of U Thant House, Founder and Chairman of the Yangon Heritage Trust, and founding partner of the Ava Advisory Group. Since 2007, he has been part of reform efforts in Myanmar as a member of its National Economic and Social Advisory Council and as a special advisor to the government on the peace process. He is the author of several books on Myanmar, including The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma, and Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia.
Tom Nagorski (moderator) is Executive Vice President of Asia Society. He serves on Princeton University’s Advisory Council for the Department of East Asian Studies, and the Advisory Board of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
This program is made possible through the generous support of the Nicholas and Sheila Platt Endowment for Public Policy.
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