ST Lee Lecture 2019
For a few fleeting years, Myanmar seemed set on a path to democracy, peace and prosperity. Aung San Suu Kyi’s 2015 landslide election victory seemed to mark the beginning of an uplifting final chapter. But the Rohingya violence and the exodus of 2016-17 captured headlines around the world and left many from outside the country scratching their heads, wondering what they had missed.
Join Dr Thant Myint-U, award-winning historian, writer, conservationist and former adviser to the president of Myanmar, who will offer an alternative version of his country’s 21st century story.
Rather than being a simple morality tale between dictators and democrats, he suggests Myanmar has instead become a stage for many of the world’s contemporary challenges, from the impact of social media and shifting balances in global power, to soaring inequality, climate change and the rise of ethno-nationalism.
Reception from 5.30pm, lecture begins at 6.30pm.
About the speaker
Dr Thant Myint-U is an award-winning historian, writer, conservationist and a former adviser to the president of Myanmar. He was educated at Harvard and Trinity College, Cambridge, completing his PhD in history at Cambridge in 1996 and teaching British imperial and Asian history as a Fellow of Trinity College until 2000.
Dr Thant Myint-U served on three United Nations peacekeeping operations, in Cambodia (1992-1993) and the former Yugoslavia (1994-1996) and at the UN Secretary in New York (2000-2007), including as Director of Policy Planning in the Department of Political Affairs. From 2003-2005 he was primarily responsible for Secretary-General Kofi Annan's High-Level Panel on UN reform and inter-governmental negotiations leading to the 2005 World Summit.
He has been living and working in Burma for the past ten years. He is the founder and chairman emeritus of the Yangon Heritage Trust, chairman of U Thant House (a leading discussion centre), and a founding partner of the Ava Advisory Group. He has also served on the president of Myanmar's National Economic and Social Advisory Council (2011-2015), as a special adviser on the peace process to the government of Myanmar (2012-2015), and in several other advisory roles.
He has lectured widely and is the author of numerous articles as well as four books, including Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia (2012). His newest book, The Hidden History of Burma: A Story of Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century, will be published this autumn.
About the ST Lee Lecture on Asia and the Pacific
The ST Lee Lecture series was established following an endowment from Dr Seng Tee Lee (ST Lee) of the Lee Foundation in Singapore. It supports an annual lecture that provides the opportunity for a distinguished figure from the Asia Pacific to speak on developments or trends in the region.
Image courtesy of ANU College of Asia and the Pacific student Tony Gu.