Vanessa Johanson is USIP’s country director for Burma, based in Yangon. Vanessa has worked since 1996 in Asia and the Middle East on peacebuilding, peace processes, governance and media development. She has held director-level positions with international organizations including Search for Common Ground, The Asia Foundation, BBC Media Action and Internews. She has carried out training and analysis on fragile states, conflict, mediation and dialogue, and women, peace and security for the Australian government, U.N. agencies and INGOs. Immediately prior to joining USIP she worked as senior advisor on Peacebuilding and Peace Processes in Burma with USAID/OTI through DAI.

Vanessa speaks Bahasa Indonesian fluently, as well as conversational Burmese, and has lived and worked in Burma, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Sweden and Thailand, as well as carrying out numerous short-term assignments elsewhere. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Literature (Latrobe), a Graduate Diploma in Journalism (RMIT) and a Masters in Participatory Development (ANU).

Publications By Vanessa

Creating an Inclusive Burmese Peace Process

Creating an Inclusive Burmese Peace Process

Monday, May 8, 2017

By: Vanessa Johanson

Burma's peace process reached a milestone with the October 2015 signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. The Aung San Suu Kyi government, the most democratic in living memory, has prioritized the peace process; however, many women's and youth groups and other civil society organizations have been marginalized during the negotiations, their voices on important topics silenced in favor of elite input. As a result, a parallel track of activism aimed toward peacebuilding outside the formal structure has developed. The international community should support both tracks while continuing to urge the formal inclusion of marginal groups in the main process.

Peace Processes

Q&A: Myanmar’s Peace Process, Suu Kyi Style

Q&A: Myanmar’s Peace Process, Suu Kyi Style

Thursday, September 15, 2016

By: USIP Staff with Vanessa Johanson

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, exam...

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Peace Processes; Reconciliation

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