Aung San Suu Kyi, opposition politician, discusses recent changes in Myanmar, her decision to rejoin the political system, and Myanmar-U.S. relations.
Paula J. Dobriansky
Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky holds the Distinguished National Security Chair at the U.S. Naval Academy. She is also an adjunct Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s JFK Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Chair of the National Board of Directors of the World Affairs Councils of America. Recently, she was Senior Vice President and Global Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Thomson Reuters.
From May 2001 to January 2009, Ambassador Dobriansky served as Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs (longest serving in history.) In February 2007, she was appointed the President's Special Envoy to Northern Ireland.
Prior to her Presidential appointments, Ambassador Dobriansky served as Senior Vice President and Director of the Washington Office of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was also the Council's first George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
Her other government appointments include Associate Director for Policy and Programs at the United States Information Agency, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Deputy Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 1990 Copenhagen Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the 1985 U.N. Decade for Women Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, and Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, the White House. From 1997-2001, she served on the Presidentially-appointed U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.
Ambassador Dobriansky received a B.S.F.S. summa cum laude in International Politics from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University. She is a Fulbright-Hays scholar, Ford and Rotary Foundation Fellow, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a recipient of various honors, including the Secretary of State’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, and high-level international recognition such as the Commander Cross of the Order of Merit of Poland, Poland's Highest Medal of Merit, Grand Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, National Order "Star of Romania", Hungary’s Commander’s Cross Order of Merit and Ukraine’s Order of Merit. She has also received three Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters and one Honorary Doctorate of Laws.
Country, Southeast Asia, on the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Area: 261,228 sq mi (676,577 sq km). Population (2009 est.): 48,138,000. Capitals: official, Naypyidaw (Nay Pyi Taw), proclaimed 2006; historical, Yangon (Rangoon), 19482006. Inhabitants are chiefly Burman; others include Chin, Shan, and Karen. Languages: Burmese (official), many indigenous languages. Religions: Buddhism, traditional beliefs, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism. Currency: Myanmar kyat. Myanmar may be divided into five main regions: the northern mountains, the western ranges, the coastal plains, the central lowlands, and the Shan Plateau in the east. Major rivers are the Irrawaddy and the Salween. The tropical climate is greatly influenced by the monsoons of southern Asia. Only about one-sixth of this largely mountainous land is arable. It has a centrally planned, developing economy that is largely nationalized and based on agriculture and trade. Rice is the most important crop and principal export; teak is also important. Myanmar is ruled by a military regime; its head of state and government is the chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, assisted by the prime minister. The area was long inhabited, with the Mon and Pyu states dominant from the 1st century BCE to the 9th century CE. It was united in the 11th century under a Burmese dynasty that was overthrown by the Mongols in the 13th century. The Portuguese, Dutch, and English traded there in the 16th17th century. The modern Myanmar (Burmese) state was founded in the 18th century by Alaungpaya. Conflict with the British over Assam resulted in a series of wars, and Myanmar fell to the British in 1885. Under British control, it became Burma, a province of India. It was occupied by Japan in World War II and became independent in 1948. The military took power in a coup in 1962 and nationalized major economic sectors. Civilian unrest in the 1980s led to antigovernment rioting that was suppressed by force. In 1990 opposition parties won in national elections, but the army continued in control. Trying to negotiate for a freer government amid the unrest, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.