The first of the Australia-Myanmar Institute’s monthly seminars was exceptionally well attended by people from academia, business, NGOs, think-tanks, the diaspora and others with a Myanmar interest.
The seminar took the form of a panel discussion on Myanmar’s transition to new government, and the five speakers covered a wide range of issues, leaving good time for questions and answers.
Professor Damien Kingsbury (Deakin University) opened the discussion, speaking about the historical tendency for failure when countries undergo radical political transitions. He therefore highlighted the importance a slow, moderate agenda for a political transition to be successful. In Myanmar’s case, Professor Kingsbury stressed the need for realistic expectations and that the transition to full democracy is a medium to long-term prospect. Daw Chaw Po from the Burmese Women’s Alliance then spoke about some of the practical challenges involved with the political transition and the priorities of the new government. Kyaw Soe Moe, Secretary, NLD Australia, spoke about the NLD and its current aims including reconciliation in Myanmar and economic development. U Teddy Buri, a visiting Karenni member of the NLD leadership, then covered some of the current challenges posed by ethnic issues in Myanmar. AMI president Christopher Lamb was the final speaker, discussing elections and politics at State, Township, Village and traditional local levels. He highlighted the historic importance of these lower levels of government to the lives of citizens and their role into the future. Questions from the floor covered topics from education to land reform and civil society, suggesting a breadth of issues to be covered in future AMI seminars.
To listen to the audio recording of the seminar, please click below.