Scholars from around the world have gathered at ANU for the 2013 Myanmar/Burma Update.
Focusing on the theme ‘debating democratisation’, the two- day conference, hosted by the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, features Daw Than Than Nu, Secretary General of Myanmar’s Democratic Party.
She is also the daughter of the nation’s first elected prime minister U Nu.
Mr Winston Set Aung, Myanmar’s Deputy Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, opened the conference on Friday morning.
The first time visitor to Australia said it didn’t take him long to feel at home at ANU.
“It really reminds me of the old days when I was at my university, in my younger days,” he said.
“A university like this, a very beautiful university, can freshen the minds of the people; not only the minds, but also the hearts and souls of the people, especially the students who are always coming back to the university.”
Touching on Myanmar’s current reforms Deputy Minister Set Aung conceded that it was not a straight forward process.
“Reform is a process. It’s an evolution process. We tend to make a lot of significant developments. We also tend to make mistakes. But, these mistakes become lessons to be learned on the road to reform."
Held biennially, the Myanmar/Burma Update is a series of regular conferences that focus on recent economic, political and social conditions in Burma.
This year’s conference precedes a visit to Canberra on Sunday from Burma’s President Thein Sein, who is in Australia until Wednesday, at the invitation of Governor General Quentin Bryce.
The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific is hosting the 2013 Myanmar/Burma Update from 15 to 16 March. Visit our website for more news, analysis, comment and insight on Myanmar and its remarkable social and political transformation.
Article by Belinda Cranston.