PHOTOS & VIDEO - The Generals and the Democrat: Burma in Transition - Screening and Panel Discussion

event_image Event offered by:
Foreign Policy Association
U.S. Mission to the U.N.

Event Details

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM 
U.S. Mission to the U.N.
799 United Nations Plaza (Use Entrance at 45th Street and 1st avenue)
New York, NY
Event type
Lecture / Panel  

Event Transcripts and Video

Controlled by a military junta, the nation of Burma has long been isolated as an international pariah state. But a flicker of hope for many Burmese has been Aung San Suu Kyi, who’s spent decades defying military leaders in her quest for democracy. Now, the generals have started to implement a series of democratic and economic reforms, which the U.S. and other Western powers have welcomed overwhelmingly. But are Myanmar’s military leaders serious about reform? And is Aung San Suu Kyi the one to lead Burma through what could be a rocky transition from international outcast to Asian “tiger”?

The Foreign Policy Association and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations held a special screening of "The Generals and the Democrat: Burma in Transition," a 30-minute PBS documentary, produced by the FPA. which was followed by a panel discussion.





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Event Speakers

    • W. Patrick Murphy - Panelist
      Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, U.S. State Department


      W. Patrick Murphy, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was designated Senior Advisor for Burma in July 2012. Since joining the Foreign Service in 1992, Mr. Murphy has served in a variety of policy positions associated with Burma, including as Director and Deputy Director of the Office for Mainland Southeast Asia (Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam), Deputy Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, Political and Economic Chief at Embassy Rangoon, and Burma desk officer. Prior senior assignments include leader of the interagency Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team in northern Iraq and Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy Maseru (Kingdom of Lesotho). He has also served abroad on diplomatic assignments in China, Guinea, and Mali.

      In Washington, Mr. Murphy previously served as senior political advisor for the Haiti Working Group and desk officer for Laos. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon. He received an M.A. in international relations from The Johns Hopkins University (SAIS), an M.S. in strategic security studies from the National War College, where he was a distinguished (honor) graduate, and a B.A. in political science and Canadian studies from the University of Vermont. He studied international economics at the European Institute in Nice, France.

      Mr. Murphy is a recipient of the Department of State’s Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards and the Department of the Army’s Superior Civilian Service Award. He was the runner-up for the Secretary of State’s 2005 Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award for his work in Burma. He received the National Defense University 2009 President’s Award for excellence in writing. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Mr. Murphy was a resource economist for the World Wildlife Fund and a policy analyst for the Overseas Development Council. His foreign languages include French, Spanish, Cantonese, and Burmese.


    • W. Patrick Murphy
    • Maureen Aung-Thwin - Panelist
      Director of the Burma Project/Southeast Asia Initiative, Open Society Foundations

      Maureen Aung-Thwin is director of the Burma Project/Southeast Asia Initiative at the Open Society Foundations. Aung-Thwin, who was born in Burma, attended Northwestern University in Illinois and New York University.

      She is on the Asia Advisory Board of Human Rights Watch and is a trustee of the Burma Studies Foundation, which oversees the Center for Burma Studies at Northern Illinois University. She has also worked as a freelance journalist based in Asia and as program staff of the Asia Society in New York.

    • Maureen Aung-Thwin
    • Frances Zwenig - Panelist
      President, US-ASEAN Business Council Institute

      Frances Zwenig is President of the US-ASEAN Business Council Institute, a non-profit sister organization to the US-ASEAN Business Council which provides the business communities of Southeast Asia and the United States with information and educational programs to promote mutual economic ties and expand cooperation through trade and investment.  She previously served as the Counselor at the US-ASEAN Business Council, primarily responsible for the ASEAN countries on the mainland, including Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.  Zwenig's long association with the region began with being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand.

      In addition, Zwenig worked for many years with the U.S. Congress.  Her experience on the Hill and in the executive branch includes the following:  Administrative Assistant to then Senator John Kerry (Massachusetts); Staff Director for the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs; Chief of Staff to then Ambassador Madeleine Albright, US Mission to the United Nations. She was also Vice President and Counsel, US-Vietnam Trade Council; and Executive Director, the Burma-Myanmar Forum.

      Zwenig graduated from the College of William and Mary with an A.B. degree, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, with an M.A., and Duke University School of Law, with a J.D. degree.  She currently resides on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia and travels to Southeast Asia frequently.

    • Frances Zwenig
    • Barbara Crossette - Moderator
      United Nations correspondent for The Nation

      Barbara Crossette, the United Nations correspondent of The Nation and a contributor to PassBlue, an online international news site, is the author of the Burma chapter in the book Great Decisions 2013, published by the Foreign Policy Association. She was a New York Times correspondent in Southeast Asia, then South Asia and at UN. The author of So Close to Heaven: The Vanishing Buddhist Kingdoms of the Himalayas and The Great Hill Stations of Asia, she won the 2010 Shorenstein Prize for her writings on Asia and the 1991 George Polk award in for her coverage in India of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

    • Barbara Crossette
    • MacDara King - Presenter
      Executive Producer, Great Decisions in Foreign Policy on PBS

      MacDara King is the Executive Producer of Great Decisions television & Communications Director at the Foreign Policy Association. In the past decade at FPA, he has produced nearly one hundred programs for broadcast on PBS, managed the development of some of the world’s premiere global affairs web properties and founded FPA University, an international career development program in the North Eastern U.S., the Global Jobs service and the Global Career Boot Camp program.

    • MacDara King

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