Priscilla A. Clapp

Senior Advisor

Ms. Priscilla Clapp is currently a senior advisor to the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Asia Society. She is a retired Minister-Counselor in the U.S. Foreign Service.

During her 30-year career with the U.S. Government, Ms. Clapp served as chief of mission and permanent charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Burma (1999-2002), deputy chief of mission in the U.S. Embassy in South Africa (1993-96), principal deputy assistant aecretary of state for Refugee Programs (1989-1993), deputy political counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow (1986-88), and chief of political-military affairs in the U.S. Embassy in Japan (1981-85).  She also worked on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, in the East Asian, Political Military and International Organizations bureaus, and with the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

Prior to government service, Ms. Clapp spent ten years in foreign policy and arms control research, with the MIT Center for International Studies and as a Research Associate at the Brookings Institution.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Ms. Clapp’s books include: with Morton Halperin, "Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy" (Brookings, 2006), with I.M. Destler et al., "Managing an Alliance: the Politics of U.S.-Japanese Relations" (Brookings, 1976), with Morton Halperin, "U.S.-Japanese Relations in the 1970's" (Harvard, 1974).  She is a frequent media commentator and the author of numerous publications on Burma and U.S. Burma policy with USIP, the Brookings Institution, the East-West Center, Australia National University, the Asia Society, the National Bureau of Asian Research, Singapore’s ISEAS and others. 


Expert In the News

Articles & Analysis from this Expert

January 27, 2016

Myanmar’s transition to representative democracy reaches another milestone on Feb. 1: A new parliament begins work with a majority of its members for the first time belonging to the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Priscilla Clapp, a former American diplomat in Myanmar and U.S. Institute of Peace specialist on the country, discusses the next steps and the likely effect of the change on Myanmar’s political, economic and societal transformation.

November 19, 2015
Priscilla Clapp
November 10, 2015
Fred Strasser
November 5, 2015
Priscilla Clapp
August 21, 2015
Priscilla Clapp


April 27, 2015
Many countries have attempted to transition from authoritarian governments to democracies, with many false starts. The political transition that began in Myanmar with the elections of 2010 was heavily planned by military leaders to gradually move toward democratization while retaining many of the authoritarian structures of the previous government during the transition. As Myanmar’s success has attracted great interest and support from the international community, this study analyzes the elements that brought the transition about and the issues that threaten to arrest and complicate it in the present, to draw lessons that might apply to other countries undergoing transitions to democracy.