On 20 October 2020, UNU will host “Does History Shape Destiny? The Case of Myanmar”, a virtual conversation with Dr Thant Myint-U, Chairman of U Thant House and the Yangon Heritage Trust. This event will be held via Zoom Webinar at 18:30 (JST).
Myanmar has existed throughout its history in a variety of political configurations, with each contributing to the nature of the country we know today. The architecturally and culturally renowned Pagan Kingdom that began over a millennium ago established the Bamar ethnic group as the region’s dominant people. The Toungoo Empire in the 16th Century, the largest ever South-East Asia witnessed, absorbed many peripheral lands and their ethnically diverse inhabitants. Colonial rule three centuries later further exacerbated ethnic differences within, albeit under the British and Anglo-Burmese dominance. The 1947 Panglong Agreement then enabled the establishment of the independent Union of Burma, but fissures quickly surfaced, igniting internal conflict along political and ethnic lines that continue into the modern-day, culminating with the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya recently.
Is history truly inescapable? Do the Myanmar elections in November, the second openly contested elections in almost three decades, present a glimmer of hope? What about the 21st Century Panglong Conferences — the national reconciliation and peace process whose fourth and most recent iteration took place in August?
Dr Thant Myint-U will join UNU Rector David M. Malone to discuss the future of Myanmar and to explore how destiny may escape history’s grievances.
The UNU Virtual Conversation Series aims to foster audience participation: you are encouraged to engage with the speakers during the conversation via the Q&A tab. As permitted by time, a number of live audience questions will be selected for speakers to address.
Please note that this event is in English. Advance registration (by 19 October 2020) is required and is limited in capacity. Please click on the REGISTER button above to access the online registration page. Registrants will be sent a link on their emails to attend via Zoom Webinar on the day of the event.
Dr Thant Myint-U is currently the Chairman of U Thant House, Founder and Chairman of the Yangon Heritage Trust, and a Founding Partner of Ava Advisory Group. He is also an Affiliated Scholar of the Centre for South Asian Studies at Cambridge University. He previously served as a member of the President of Myanmar’s National Economic and Social Advisory Council and a special advisor at the Myanmar Peace Center. He also served many years in the United Nations, with duty stations including Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia and New York. Dr Thant Myint-U has penned many book chapters, monographs and articles, as well as several books, including the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century (2019).
Dr Thant Myint-U was educated at Harvard (AB in Governance and Economics), Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (MA in International Relations and International Economics) and the University of Cambridge (PhD in History).
Online via Zoom Webinar