This discussion examined how, in 2011, Myanmar embarked on wide-ranging political and economic reforms that many hoped would pave the way for the country's democratic transition. During this time, many also hoped the liberalisations would pave the way for the peaceful settlement of decades-long conflicts between the state and an array of ethno-national insurgencies. The current crisis with the Rohingya Muslim minority, leading to a massive outflow of refugees, now calls into question the future of these political reforms and the potential for the democratic evolution of Myanmar.

This event was chaired by Leigh Morris Sloane, Managing Director, IISS–Americas. It took place at the IISS–Americas office, located at 2121 K Street NW, Suite 801, Washington DC 20037.

Priscilla A. Clapp is currently a senior adviser to the US Institute of Peace and the Asia Society. She is a retired minister-counsellor in the US Foreign Service. During her 30-year career with the United States government, Clapp served as chief of mission and permanent charge d’affaires at the US Embassy in Burma (1999–2002), deputy chief of mission in the US Embassy in South Africa (1993–96), principal deputy assistant secretary of state for refugee programmes (1989–1993), deputy political counsellor in the US Embassy in Moscow (1986–88), and chief of political-military affairs in the US Embassy in Japan (1981–85). She also worked on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, in the East Asian, Political Military and International Organizations bureaus, and with the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Maxwell J. Hamilton is a visiting fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. A career Foreign Service Officer, the Council on Foreign Relations awarded Max an International Affairs Fellowship for the 2017–18 year. Max previously served as Special Assistant to Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon. He also served as the State Department's Burma Unit Chief and in the State Department’s Operations Center. From 2012–13, Max was a political officer at the US Embassy in Kabul. Max’s other diplomatic assignments include postings at the US Consulate in Chennai and the US Embassy in Caracas. Prior to joining the Foreign Service in 2008, Max taught high school social studies in Miami with Teach for America and reported on Latin American news for the Miami Herald. Raised in Louisiana, Max graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the Harvard Kennedy School.

Yun Sunis a Senior Associate with the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center. Her expertise is in Chinese foreign policy, US–China relations and China's relations with neighbouring countries and authoritarian regimes. From 2011 to early 2014, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, jointly appointed by the Foreign Policy Program and the Global Development Program, where she focused on Chinese national security decision-making processes and China–Africa relations. From 2008–11, Yun was the China Analyst for the International Crisis Group based in Beijing, specialising on China's foreign policy towards conflict countries and the developing world. Prior to this, she worked on US–Asia relations in Washington DC for five years. Yun earned her Master's degree in international policy and practice from George Washington University, as well as an MA in Asia Pacific studies and a BA in international relations from Foreign Affairs College in Beijing.


Leigh Morris Sloane

Leigh manages operations for the Washington office and works closely with her IISS colleagues around the world to ensure that constituents based in the Americas connect with the Institute’s world-leading research and convening power.

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Event details

Tuesday 7 November, 10.30–11.30am EDT
IISS–Americas, Washington DC
Priscilla A. Clapp, Senior Advisor, United States Institute of Peace
Maxwell J. Hamilton, Visiting Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Yun Sun, Senior Associate, Stimson Center
Leigh Morris Sloane, Managing Director, IISS–Americas