This event will not be held as scheduled. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please sign up for information about our next Burma event. Like today, a historic transition and efforts to negotiate peace with minority groups in the borderlands marked the early years in Burma after it first established diplomatic relations with the U.S. 70 years ago this month. This time, new challenges have emerged, too, including the conflict involving the Muslim Rohingya minority. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace on September 18, as Burma’s Ambassador U Aung Lynn and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia W. Patrick Murphy open a discussion placing current events and U.S. policy into historical context.

Voters line up outside a polling station in Yangon, Myanmar, Nov. 8, 2015. After five decades of military rule and a series of rigged or canceled elections, voters took part in what many described as their first genuine election. (Adam Dean/The New York Times)
Voters line up outside a polling station in Yangon, Myanmar, Nov. 8, 2015. Photo Courtesy of The New York Times/Adam Dean

When the two countries agreed to exchange ambassadors in 1947, Burma was on the verge of a transition from colonial rule to independence and in the midst of negotiating the formation of a federal union with minorities in the borderlands. After a downgrading of U.S.-Burma ties from 1990 to 2012, relations are back on track. Burma is once again making a transition, this time from military rule to democracy, and negotiating an end to conflict with border-area minorities through a nationwide peace process. In Rakhine state, conflict involving the Rohingya has become increasingly complex and this month reached unprecedented levels of violence and displacement.
 
The opening speakers and a panel of former diplomats who lived through and shaped changes in the relationship will take a historical look at the U.S. role in democratic governance and the prevention and resolution of conflict in Burma.

Speakers

Ambassador U Aung Lynn, Opening Remarks
Ambassador of Burma to the United States

W. Patrick Murphy, Opening Remarks
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southeast Asia, U.S. Department of State

David Steinberg
Professor, Georgetown University

Priscilla Clapp
Senior Adviser, USIP

Ambassador Derek Mitchell
Senior Adviser, USIP

Related Publications

Burma’s Balancing Act on Rakhine

Burma’s Balancing Act on Rakhine

Monday, June 11, 2018

By: Jennifer Staats ; Kay Spencer

In a reversal of past policy, Burma’s government last week signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United Nations to facilitate the repatriation of Rohingya refugees back to Burma. This unexpected move builds on the momentum established last month, when Burma hosted a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) delegation and invited the U.N. to assist in the repatriation of the Rohingya and the rehabilitation of Rakhine state.

Global Policy; Human Rights

The Current Situation in Burma

The Current Situation in Burma

Monday, June 4, 2018

After five decades of autocratic military rule, Burma (also known as Myanmar) has initiated a critical transformation to representative democracy. But various regional and national tensions threaten the already tenuous transition; the Rohingya crisis, on-going clashes between ethnic armed organizations and the military in Kachin and Shan States, disagreements between the military and elected civilian government, intercommunal and religious cleavages, and precarious security structures threaten the nation’s stability.

Religion

Understanding China’s Response to the Rakhine Crisis

Understanding China’s Response to the Rakhine Crisis

Thursday, February 8, 2018

By: Adrienne Joy

Following attacks on police posts by an armed Rohingya militia in August 2017, reprisals by the Burmese government have precipitated a humanitarian crisis. More than six hundred thousand Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, where they face an uncertain future. Publicly stating that the root cause of conflict in Rakhine is...

Global Policy; Human Rights

Reframing the Crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Reframing the Crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Monday, January 22, 2018

By: Gabrielle Aron

In the aftermath of attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army and subsequent military clearance operations, two competing narratives have emerged. One frames the attacks as a critical threat to national security and the majority cultural-religious status quo. The second focuses on the human cost...

Global Policy; Human Rights

View All Publications