Handle with Care: Establishing a Myanmar Style of Democracy

January 25, 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Mānoa Campus, Moore Hall 319 (Tokioka Room) Add to Calendar

The UHM Center for Southeast Asian Studies invites you to a talk with Billy Tea, WSD-Handa Fellow at the Pacific Forum, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Mr. Tea will be giving a 45 minute talk titled, “Handle with Care: Establishing a Myanmar Style of Democracy” followed by a 15-30 minute Q&A/discussion session. All are welcome to attend this free talk!

Synopsis: Myanmar a country rich in natural resources: including oil, gas, minerals, and wood has been closed for decades; however, within the last two years it has experienced a great transformation toward liberalization. Two questions come to mind, What are the main challenges that lay ahead? And what can be done to ensure Myanmar’s path toward democracy?

The answer lies within the history of the Junta since the death of Aung San in 1947. This presentation will demonstrate that ever since the Junta came into power it has tried to legitimize its power. It is essential to understand that the military regime only came into power because democracy’ post-independence failed. There were many mistakes and events of grave human rights violation in order for the junta to comprehend that although if a centralized government was more apt to manage a country, a government with popular support was the ultimate goal. Currently, there is great will to move Myanmar toward democracy, however, this transition is fragile and demands long, mid, and short term planning in order to guarantee the success of Myanmar’s democratization. This presentation will look back at the modern history of Myanmar to demonstrate the credibility of the Junta to move toward its own style of “democracy,” discuss the challenges that lie ahead of the newly established government, and provide some suggestions to respond to these challenges.

Bio: Mr. Billy Tea (USA) is a WSD-Handa Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS, where he focuses on security issues in South East Asia and maritime security in the Asia-Pacific region. He was formerly an Analyst with the Foreign Policy and Security Studies Bureau at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia, where his research focused on conflict prevention, conflict management, and regional cooperation; Chinese foreign policy in Asia; and security and defense relations among the US, Asia, and Europe. Prior to joining ISIS Malaysia, he was a trainee at the Political Section of the European Union Delegation and at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) in New Delhi, India. Mr. Tea has written policy papers and articles on maritime cooperation initiatives, Myanmar’s politico-economic transition, the implications of China’s rise, China and India’s relations with Southeast Asia, and the war in Afghanistan. In 2007, he volunteered at the Thai-Myanmar border working with refugees, during which he experienced the spill-over effects of civil war which pushed him to graduate from King’s College London with an MA in War Studies. Mr. Tea also graduated with Magna Cum Laude from Umass Amherst with a BA in Political Science.

Event Sponsor
Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Beau Mueller, 808-956-2688, cseas@hawaii.edu, http://www.cseashawaii.org

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