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Burma/Myanmar: Views from the Ground and the International Community

On May 8, 2009, the Atlantic Council of the United States, the US-ASEAN Business Council, and NBR in cooperation with Refugees International convened this forum to inform policymakers about the situation in Burma/Myanmar and the international response. Representatives of the international community, humanitarian workers with on-the ground experience, experts, and the policy community in Washington, D.C., joined together for an off-the record discussion. Experts and aid workers addressed questions about the humanitarian situation, which is on the verge of crisis, highlighting what programs are successful and where the needs are greatest. Members of the international community shared their approaches and explored avenues for better international coordination.

FORUM INFORMATION AND MATERIALS

FORUM PROCEEDINGS

Welcome/Opening Remarks

Frances Zwenig, Counselor, US-ASEAN Business Council

PANEL I: HUMANITARIAN ISSUES: THE VIEW FROM THE GROUND

What is the humanitarian situation? What programs are most successful? Where are their opportunities for improving international cooperation?

Moderator

The Honorable Morton Abramowitz, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

Scene setter

Morten Pedersen, Research Fellow, Australian National University (presentation)

Panelists

Andrew Kirkwood, Country Director, Save the Children, Burma (presentation)
Debbie Aung Din, Country Director, International Development Enterprises
Richard Horsey, Open Society Fellow (presentation)

PANEL II: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES AND APPROACHES

What approach do the neighbors and key economic partners take to addressing the humanitarian situation? Are their opportunities for closer international coordination?

Moderator

The Honorable Richard Armitage, President, Armitage International

Panelists

Singapore: HE Ambassador Chan Heng Chee (presentation)
Japan: Keiichi Ono, Director, First Southeast Asia Division, Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (presentation)
Thailand: Charge d’Affaires Damrong Kraikruan, Royal Thai Embassy
Norway: HE Ambassador Wegger Christian Strommen (presentation)
Australia: David Stuart, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Australia

Closing remarks

Thant Myint-U, Author, The River of Lost Footsteps

Contributed paper

The High Costs of Non-Solutions in Burma/Myanmar
Khin Zaw Win, civil society facilitator in Myanmar