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Showing posts from January, 2018

Democracy and Peace Frustrated in Myanmar: Remembering U Ko Ni

Acknowledgement: This article first appeared in The Interpreter, The Lowy Institute, 29 January 2018-- Today marks one year since U Ko Ni, a prominent lawyer and advocate for constitutional reform, was assassinated in Myanmar. This was just one of many incidents in 2017 that indicated a sharp decline in freedoms not only in Myanmar but across Southeast Asia. Ko Ni’s death is an example of how efforts towards democracy and peace are frustrated in Myanmar. This calculated killing came as a shock because U Ko Ni was publicly known as a legal advisor to the National League for Democracy, the political party of Noble Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. His death was condemned globally, from Amnesty International to the pages of The New York Times . The devastating tragedy exposed the revolutionary nature of the call for constitutional reform in Myanmar. Efforts to change the constitutional order pose a threat to the military and its role in governance in Myanmar. U Ko Ni public

One year on: Tribute to U Ko Ni

Tomorrow marks one year since the assassination of U Ko Ni. Below is a rerun of the article I wrote following that tragedy: This week people in Myanmar were forced to confront the kind of country that it is becoming. On 29 January 2017, U Ko Ni, a prominent lawyer and legal advisor, was  tragically assassinated  at Yangon International Airport. He was returning from a trip to Indonesia with the Information Minister U Pe Myint. U Ko Ni was outspoken in his advocacy for law reform and was also a well-known Muslim in majority-Buddhist Myanmar. His untimely death is an unspeakable loss for the country. Ko Ni was born near Katha in Saigang Division in 1953, and was the son of a Muslim father and a Burmese Buddhist mother. This was not unusual for the time. In the early 1900s, his father came to Burma through his work with the British Indian army. Burma at the time was considered to be part of the British Indian colonial empire. His mother was a Burmese Buddhist, although she

Introducing the Association for Mainland Southeast Asia Scholars (AMSEAS)

A New Year, a new academic association! Looking to connect with an interdisciplinary group of academics who work on Mainland Southeast Asia? The new Association for Mainland Southeast Asia Scholars (known by the acronym AMSEAS) is now accepting applications for membership . AMSEAS is the first academic association in Australia and New Zealand to focus specifically on Mainland Southeast Asia. It is affiliated with the Asian Studies Association of Australia. AMSEAS seeks to foster and facilitate opportunities for the advancement of research and knowledge relevant to Mainland Southeast Asia. Recognising the benefits of adopting a multidisciplinary approach and encouraging dialogue between scholars of the individual countries, we promote and support the study of Mainland Southeast Asia. While the primary base of AMSEAS is Australian and New Zealand universities, we also welcome membership from academics, students and researchers from abroad. AMSEAS is pleased to introduc

Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Myanmar

The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Myanmar has recently been published, edited by Adam Simpson, Iain Halliday and Nicholas Farrelly. It was great to be a part of this collaborative effort. Abstract as follows: This timely Handbook describes the political, economic, and cultural dimensions of this crucial period of transition in Myanmar. It presents explanations for contradictory trends, including those that defy some of the early narratives about the comprehensive transformation of Myanmar. The Handbook also considers the impact of major environmental, strategic, and demographic trends which help underscore that Myanmar’s development will be an ongoing task. In addition to introductory and concluding chapters by the editors, the body of the Handbook is divided into seven core sections: • Fundamentals • Spaces • Cultures • Living •  Governance • International • Challenges. Written by an international team of scholars, with a mix of world-leading established academics and talen

UNSW Southeast Asia Events

A Review of 2017 Looking back on 2017, its been a busy year for UNSW Law and its events in/at/on Southeast Asia. Here’s a brief overview: January Faculty member, Co-teaching Stream on ‘Law and Society in Southeast Asia’, Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law & Policy Workshop , 5-12 January, Bangkok, Thailand. February Lecturer, Course on Principles and Processes of Constitution-Making , International IDEA, Yangon, Myanmar (intensive course, 30 students from government and civil society) Invited Chair, Myanmar/Burma Update, panel on Religion and the State , Canberra March Seminar on The Future for Justice Sector Reform in Myanmar , World Bank, Yangon, Myanmar Seminar by Guest Speaker Thaw Thant Kaung on ‘ Books and Publication Trends in Myanmar’ , at UNSW Law April/May/July Facilitator & lecturer, Professional Legal Education on Commercial and Corporate Law , part 1, Yangon, Myanmar (intensive course, 38 legal practitioners) Facilitat