Myanmar

The peace process in Myanmar seeks to end decades of conflicts between the army and an array of ethnic armed groups. It is progressing fitfully as the new democratic leadership under Aung San Suu Kyi endeavors to work with a military still in control of key security institutions. The U.S. Institute of Peace has engaged with Myanmar’s government and civil society since 2012. Initiatives include bolstering accountability for the security apparatus, reducing intercommunal tension and conflict, and supporting the peace process with training and technical assistance. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation in Myanmar.

Myanmar’s Difficult Path Toward Peace

Fri, 11/04/2016 - 10:00
Fri, 11/04/2016 - 12:00
Subtitle: 
Prospects for Ending Myanmar’s Ethnic Conflict, and Ways the International Community Might Help

International attention toward Myanmar has focused largely on the country's transition from a half-century of military rule toward democratic governance. But ending nearly 70 years of civil conflict among the country's ethnic nationalities remains essential to the country's stability and success. In its first eight months, the elected government of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has invited more of the country’s ethnic armed groups to join new peace talks. Still, fighting has continued and in some places worsened. On November 4, the U.S. Institute of Peace will gather specialists on the peace process to examine its current state and highlight ways that the international community can help.

Read the event coverage, Myanmar Peace Process: Slow Progress, Delicate Steps.

In October 2015, several of Myanmar’s ethnic armed organizations signed a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government of former President Thein Sein. Since taking office in March, Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has likewise made peace its priority. It convened its 21st Century Panglong Conference in August, bringing nearly all of the country’s ethnic armed groups into a nascent dialogue process. Since then, fighting in Shan, Kachin, and Karen states has expanded, and fresh clashes in Rakhine state continue to undermine trust and confidence in the process.

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Supporting Burma’s Transition to Democracy

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 11:15
Mon, 05/09/2016 - 12:45
Subtitle: 
The Role of Diplomacy and Development

Burma’s evolution away from five decades of military rule has offered the United States its most significant opportunity in years to engage with the country’s people and government in the pursuit of democracy, development, peace, and human rights. In countries undergoing political transitions, U.S. policy coordination, decision-making and traditional development tools often struggle to keep pace with the challenges. Experts and U.S. officials discussed lessons learned recently in Burma, also known as Myanmar—and of ways they may be applicable to the U.S. role in similar environments.

Read the event coverage, U.S. Eyes Military Ties With Myanmar, Official Says.

Five years after Burma began its political transition the National League for Democracy (NLD) of Aung San Suu Kyi won an overwhelming victory in parliamentary elections in November. A few weeks ago, the country swore in President U Htin Kyaw as its first non-military, elected chief executive in 54 years.

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Personal Stories from the Frontlines of War and Peace

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 14:00
Tue, 04/28/2015 - 15:30

From Iraq to Burma, from Peru to Yemen, from Nicaragua to Nepal, the personal stories of widows, children, workers, and soldiers often are lost in the cacophony of war.  The U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a discussion and launch of "Speaking Their Peace: Personal Stories from the Frontlines of War and Peace," a book that tells the extraordinary stories of "ordinary" people from eleven conflict zones. This event included a moderated discussion with the book's author, Colette Rausch, and two members of the team that captured these memorable interviews, followed by a reception and book-signing session.

With a foreword by the Dalai Lama, the book collects interviews with 80 ordinary citizens – a taxi driver, a nun, a machinery worker, a mother -- from conflict zones all over the world. Their accounts illuminate the intensely personal experience of war, the uncertain transition to peace, and the aspirations that survive despite it all.

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A Different Route to Countering Violent Extremism: What Works?

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 09:30
Tue, 04/14/2015 - 11:30

From Paris to northeastern Nigeria to Burma, violent extremism has emerged as a critical threat to peace and stability. Military and police responses make headlines, but many governments, civil society organizations and individuals also are doing painstaking work to build resilience, support alternative narratives, reduce underlying divisions and ultimately counter the allure of militant groups. State Department Counselor on Counterterrorism and Preventing Violent Extremism, Eric Rosand, joins the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum on Tuesday, April 14, at the U.S. Institute of Peace for a discussion of the results of these efforts, and how to build on effective approaches.

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The Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum (CPRF) provides a monthly platform in Washington for highlighting innovative and constructive methods of conflict resolution. Established in 1999, the forum’s goals are to (1) provide information from a wide variety of perspectives; (2) explore possible solutions to complex conflicts; and (3) provide a secure venue for stakeholders from various disciplines to engage in cross-sector and multi-track problem-solving.

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States of Fragility and Global Violence: An OECD Report

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 09:30
Tue, 01/24/2017 - 11:30
Subtitle: 
Improving Policies by Better Measuring How Weak States Risk Falling into Crisis

This event has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Over 15 years, nearly half of all people, 3.34 billion, have suffered from political violence or lived under its shadow, notes a new OECD report. Violence is on the rise and, surprisingly, conflict is not the leading cause of death.  Fragile contexts, especially those where governments are ineffective and social contracts with their populations broken—drive much of this violence, plus refugee flight, pandemic diseases and other catastrophes. So understanding and measuring fragility is vital to U.S. and international policies that aim to prevent crises.  Join the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for the Washington launch of an OECD report—States of Fragility 2016—that offers a new approach to monitoring the fragility of states at risk.

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Twenty-two percent of the global population now live in countries where human development is hampered by fragility and violence. On Tuesday, January 24, USIP, OECD, and other specialists will discuss OECD’s States of Fragility report, which presents a new approach for measuring the extent of fragility.

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Myanmar Peace Process: Slow Progress, Delicate Steps

The peace process in Myanmar, which seeks to end decades of conflicts between the country’s army and an array of rebel groups, is progressing fitfully but could still face a reversal, experts on the Southeast Asian nation said in a discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace. To drive it forward will require that the country’s new democratic leadership to skillfully manage relations with the still-powerful military while pushing negotiations and building confidence with the nation’s diverse armed movements.

Fred Strasser

As Myanmar continues its transition to democracy after 50 years of military rule, its defining challenge now is to make peace, said Derek Mitchell, the former U.S. ambassador to Myanmar and now a senior adviser at USIP. Armed ethnic groups have been engaged in conflict since even before independence from the U.K. in 1948. They are fighting for autonomy, independence or ethnic minority rights, and also sometimes motivated by economic incentives.

Thu, 11/10/2016 - 13:00
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Implementing a Unified Approach to Fragility: Lessons learned from Burma

The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was released on September 12. This brief is part of a series authored by scholars from the three institutions that build on the chair report to discuss the implications of fragility on existing U.S. tools, strategic interests and challenges. 

Development, diplomacy, and defense advance U.S. interests in a world of rapid and complex transitions. Since 2010, considerable progress has been made to increase the capacity and co-ordination of these “three D’s” through integrated strategic planning and the rebuilding of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) policy and planning functions. Nevertheless, embassies are often challenged to translate broad strategic goals into specific actions that combine the capabilities of development, diplomacy, and defense, particularly in complex transition environments.

Derek Mitchell, Chris Milligan, Jessica Davey
Fri, 10/07/2016 - 12:10
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Q&A: Myanmar’s Peace Process, Suu Kyi Style

Four days of talks last week restarted Myanmar’s peace process almost a year after a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement was signed by some but not all of the country’s armed groups. The process, known as the 21st Century Panglong Conference, or Union Peace Conference, is intended to convene every six months and aims to end the decades-long conflicts between and among the Myanmar army and an array of rebel groups. Vanessa Johanson, the Myanmar country director for the U.S. Institute of Peace, examines the results.

Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) won control of parliament in November, has made the country’s peace process one of her top policy priorities. The general election was the first in Myanmar since almost 50 years of military rule ended in 2011. U.S.

USIP Staff
Thu, 09/15/2016 - 16:10
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Keeping Political Transitions Peaceful

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 09:00
Thu, 09/08/2016 - 12:00
Subtitle: 
A Symposium on How to Improve Policy and Practice

Countries from Myanmar to Chile have moved from autocratic regimes to more inclusive forms of government, though their experiences continue to be fraught with difficulties.  On September 8, the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a symposium exploring recent research on what factors encourage or inhibit peaceful transitions and how nascent democracies can overcome their fragility. The discussion included a focus on a new study released by Chatham House on Zimbabwe’s potential for peaceful democratic transition.

According to the 2016 Fragile States Index, six of the eight most fragile states—countries that have weak, ineffective, or illegitimate governments and conditions that exacerbate corruption, poverty and violence--are in Africa, and only a handful of the continent's 54 countries are ranked as stable. In Zimbabwe, the intensification of the #ThisFlag campaign may signal an opportunity for peaceful transition from a fragile to a democratic state.

9:00am:
Amb. Princeton Lyman, Welcoming Remarks
Nancy Lindborg, President, USIP, Opening Remarks

9:15am-10:15am: Zimbabwe: Opportunities for, and challenges to, peaceful transition

Dr. Alex Vines 
Head, Africa Programme, Chatham House

Dr. Witney Schneidman
Senior International Advisor for Africa, Covington & Burling LLP

Nicole Wilett-Jensen
Vice President, Albright Stonebridge Group

Amb. Johnnie Carson, Moderator
Senior Advisor to the President, U.S. Institute of Peace

10:15am-10:30am: Coffee Break

10:30am-12:00pm: Lessons learned on factors that encourage and inhibit peaceful transitions

Priscilla Clapp
Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace

Dr. Abraham Lowenthal
Professor Emeritus of International Relations, University of Southern California

Dr. Nadia Diuk 
Vice President, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, National Endowment for Democracy

Michael S. Lund
Senior Associate, Management Systems International, Inc.; USIP Senior Fellow, 2012-13

Amb. Princeton Lyman, Moderator
Senior Advisor to the President, U.S. Institute of Peace

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Articles & Analysis

The peace process in Myanmar, which seeks to end decades of conflicts between the country’s army and an array of rebel groups, is progressing fitfully but could still face a reversal, experts on...

By:
Fred Strasser

Four days of talks last week restarted Myanmar’s peace process almost a year after a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement was signed by some but not all of the country’s armed groups. The process, known...

By:
USIP Staff

Myanmar’s new leader, Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi, has made the country’s peace process one of her top policy priorities—and China is taking steps to support her efforts. The Chinese government has...

By:
I-wei Jennifer Chang, Kay Spencer and Jennifer Staats

Videos & Webcasts

The past week’s turmoil within Myanmar’s ruling party has underscored the power of the country’s armed forces less than 12 weeks before parliamentary elections that civil society activists and...

Myanmar continues to experience intermittent violence and power struggles that threaten its progress toward sustainable peace, even as the country has made progress in its democratic transition....

International attention toward Myanmar has focused largely on the country's transition from a half-century of military rule toward democratic governance. But ending nearly 70 years of civil...

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Publications

By:
Derek Mitchell, Chris Milligan, Jessica Davey
The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace....
By:
USIP Staff
The country’s transition from military rule to representative democracy is complicated by entrenched political and economic interests, religious and ethnic cleavages, and difficult negotiations with...