San Francisco, November 13, 2012 — On November 10, Asia Foundation president David D. Arnold addressed the Pacific Council on International Policy at their annual Members Weekend in Santa Monica, California. The subject of the talk was on Burma/Myanmar: “Asian Tiger Redux? Reform, Democracy, and Myanmar’s Path Forward”. Mr. Arnold sat on a panel with Hon. Kantathi Suphamongkhon, former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Thailand, and Amb. Priscilla Clapp, former U.S. Chief of Mission in Burma (from 1999-2002).
Other speakers at the Pacific Council conference included Hon. Michèle Flournoy, former U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; Dr. Laura Tyson, former Chair of the National Economic Council; Hon. Jane Harman, former U.S. Representative from California, and Director, Woodrow Wilson Center; Hon. Thomas R. Nides, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources; and Hon. Mickey Kantor, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
Mr. Arnold’s panel on Myanmar discussed some of the changes underway in Burma, the challenges and roadblocks moving forward, and the sense for reform continuing in the future. Mr. Arnold also spoke about his recent visit with President U Thein Sein in Nay Pyi Taw to discuss assistance for the country’s development and rule of law. He shared details of The Asia Foundation’s in-person delivery of a special collection of more than 600 books and periodicals to the Burmese Parliament secretariat, which was attended by many members of Parliament, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who serves as Chairman of the Rule of Law Committee, and who was also recently hosted by The Asia Foundation at their headquarters in San Francisco. The collection was given in response to a special request from the Burmese Parliament. The Asia Foundation had in office in Burma from 1954 to 1962, and plans to reestablish a country office in 2013 to support the democratic transition and long-term development needs.
See slideshow of the official visit to the presidential palace in Nay Pyi Taw, and of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to The Asia Foundation in San Francisco.