Billy Ford is a program officer for the Burma team at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Ford joined USIP in 2019 after having held positions with The Asia Foundation, Freedom House, and numerous Burmese organizations. 

At The Asia Foundation, he worked on municipal governance reform and led the production of the City Life Survey, which is one of Burma’s largest public perception surveys. Ford spent two years in Burma as Freedom House’s first country representative, where he oversaw programs to support human rights defenders and human rights-oriented think tanks. He has also conducted research on land governance in Burma for the Tharti Myay Foundation and the Global Justice Center. In addition to spending two years in Burma, Ford lived for a year in Vietnam, where he studied Buddhism, and a year in Malaysia as a Fulbright Fellow. 

Ford’s work at USIP focuses on economics and peacebuilding, intergroup bias reduction, religion and conflict, and program evaluation. He leads efforts on the Burma team to optimize program implementation through the use of technology and creative management practices. He is intimately involved in program monitoring and evaluation, including efforts to explore experimental and quasi-experimental methods to measure the effect of USIP’s programs.  

Ford holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Hamilton College.

Publications By Billy

Myanmar in the Streets: A Nonviolent Movement Shows Staying Power

Myanmar in the Streets: A Nonviolent Movement Shows Staying Power

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

By: Zarchi Oo; Billy Ford; Jonathan Pinckney, Ph.D.

The people of Myanmar have opposed military rule in the past but never like this: In the face of horrific brutality by a lawless regime, Burmese have risen up in an historic national movement of nonviolent resistance. Led by young women, the fractious country has united across ethnic, generational and class lines, weaponizing social norms and social media in a refusal to accept the generals’ February 1 seizure of power.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Nonviolent Action

Visions for Peace in Burma

Visions for Peace in Burma

Monday, January 11, 2021

By: Billy Ford

Burma has faced various ethnic conflicts since shortly after its independence in 1948. In that time, five different peace efforts have failed, leaving Burma in what constitutes the world’s longest running civil war. However, since the country’s November 8 elections, there has been a flurry of meetings between ethnic-armed organizations and the military, known as the Tatmadaw. These unexpected talks are the first signs of progress toward a resolution of the seemingly intractable war—that is, if the sides can learn from the past and create a fresh, inclusive renewal of the peace process that draws on the country’s diverse voices advocating for peace.

Type: Blog

Peace Processes; Reconciliation

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