By curious coincidence, the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies, the first in Chiangmai, 24-26 July, is due to be held on the same days with the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) decision making meeting on the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) also in Chiangmai, 25-27 July.
The EAOs are scheduled to consider the final draft that would be re-negotiated in Rangoon, 22-23 July, between their 15 person Senior Delegation (SD) and the government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC), and decide whether to sign it or not.
Meanwhile the Burma Studies conference will be holding several panels as well as round tables on the Thailand’s western neighbor.
Two interesting panels are expected to be on Ethnic Politics and Citizenship, participated by well known scholars such as Martin Smith, Matthew Walton, Ardeth Thawnghmung and Helene Kyed. The latter’s paper focuses on the 5 integration options for the EAOs after the peace talks: in the security and justice sector, political parties, civil service, large-scale businesses and CSOs.
The two panels are to be held at 10:30- 12:00 and 13:00-14:30, on 24 July.
Two no less interesting round tables will be held on 25 July, 14:00-15:30 and 15:45-17:15. The topic will be on the ongoing peace process in the country. One will be on the latest update in the process and the other will be on how it is expected to move ahead. They are to be moderated by Pyidaungsu Institute director Khuensai Jaiyen and Dr Chayan Vaddhanaphuti respectively.
Representatives from EAOs, Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) and National League for Democracy (NLD) as well as preeminent academics like Hannes Siebert are among the invited participants.
The conference opens at 08:25 on 24 July. Other participants whose names are familiar to Burma watchers include:
- Mon Mon Myat and Aung Zaw: Media and its role in Democratic Transition
- Ashley South: Ethnic Armed groups and Political Parties
- Khin Ohnmar: Vibrant and Independent Civil Society
- Paul Sein Twa: Land confiscation in Burma
Chayan Vaddhanaphuti, the principal organizer of the event, said: “We Thais, despite being Myanmar’s closest neighbor, know very little about it. I’m confident we are going to learn a lot from the conference which will further strong then our bilateral relations.”
For more details, please consult attached schedules.