US Diplomacy and Myanmar's Road to Reform

Kenton Clymer, Distinguished Research Professor of History; Faculty Associate, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University

Victory by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in Myanmar’s November election represented an important milestone in the nation’s transition from military dictatorship to nascent democracy. For the US, Myanmar’s opening presents an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations with a nation that has long been diplomatically isolated. It also represents the latest chapter in a long and complex debate within US foreign policymaking over engagement with Myanmar’s military government, support for the democratic movement, and the use of sanctions and other diplomatic tools to promote change. How has the US influenced events in Myanmar and have wider geopolitical considerations driven US policy? What challenges lay ahead for US-Myanmar relations?  

Kenton Clymer’s new book, A Delicate Relationship: The United States and Burma/Myanmar Since 1945, will be available for sale and signing following the program from The Book Cellar.

Speaker Bio


The Burma Road
The Economist, 04/02/2016

Myanmar Mood Change as New Era Begins
Michael Peel, Financial Times, 04/01/2016

U.S. Says Myanmar Persecutes Rohingya, but Not Genocide
Patricia Zengerele and Lesley Wroughton, Reuters, 03/21/2016


7:30 a.m.            
Registration and light breakfast

7:45 a.m.            
Presentation and discussion

8:45 a.m.            
Adjournment and book signing