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Burmese Daze: A Political Salon with Michelle Fanzo

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 6:30pm

World Policy Institute presents:

Burmese Daze: Navigating an Uncertain Transition to Democracy
A Political Salon with Michelle Fanzo

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
6:30 - 8:00 pm

This event is by invitation only.

Iconic dissident turned stateswoman Aung San Sui Kyi’s acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize this summer represented hopes for a more democratic future for Burma, officially known as Myanmar. After President Thein Sein released political prisoners, the United States lifted investment and financial sanctions in May. As authoritarianism recedes and national policies change, the reality on the ground paints a much more complex picture for Myanmar’s 55 million citizens. Many challenges persist: the recent outbreak of violence among Myanmar Buddhists and Muslims Rohingas in the northern Rakhine State, no independent judicial system, and food and energy shortages. An undetermined number of political detainees remain, fighting continues in the border country, and foreign interests circle for opportunities that may or may not prove beneficial to the local population.

A former United Nations staffer in Myanmar and long-time observer of the country, World Policy Institute Project Leader and long-time Political Salon member Michelle Fanzo undertook a three-week fact finding mission earlier this summer. In this Political Salon, she shares her findings and explores how the international community can best support the transition to democracy.

About the Speaker

Michelle Fanzo, Project Leader at World Policy Institute, has fourteen years experience in international affairs and nine in journalism, including working in the UN Office of the Secretary-General under Kofi Annan, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. She has worked in Africa, Asia and most recently Afghanistan supporting development and humanitarian operations in the field, and strategy, policy and communications at UN Headquarters. Her deep understanding of the intersection of politics, policy, communications and humanism enables her to work effectively across sectors and cultures.

About the Sponsors

The World Policy Institute, a non-partisan global think tank, engages fresh ideas and new voices from around the world to address critical shared challenges. WPI's Fellows program, regular public and private events, policy development, media activities, and flagship World Policy Journal provide a forum for solution-focused policy analysis and debate. It seeks and promotes policy solutions in support of an inclusive and sustainable global market economy, effective global governance, and broadened security strategies.

The Political Salon, organized by Steve Sokol since 2003 to promote dialogue among the next generation of leaders in business, policy, and the media, regularly convenes a diverse group of young professionals to discuss a range of foreign policy issues and global affairs. Attendees are diverse in terms of nationality, profession, and political persuasion. 

With special thanks to the Heinrich Böll Foundation for supporting the Political Salon.



Image from Saiful Huq Omi's Portfolio, "Fleeing Burma," featured in the Summer 2011 issue of World Policy Journal.  A PDF of the full piece can be downloaded here.




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