On February 27, the Institute hosted Thant Myint-U as part of its Contemporary China Speakers Series at the University of Chicago. The series brings experts from across professions, perspectives, and disciplines—including from academia, government, think tanks, journalism, and industry—to the University’s Hyde Park campus for stimulating talks and discussions on contemporary China.
Thant Myint-U was educated at Harvard and Cambridge Universities and later taught history for several years as a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He has also served on three United Nations peacekeeping operations, in Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat in New York. He is the author of several books on Burma, including The River of Lost Footsteps and Where China Meets India. A member of the Myanmar National Economic and Social Advisory Council, he is Special Advisor to the Myanmar Peace Centre and Chairman of the Yangon Heritage Trust. He was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers” of 2013.
His talk, “Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia,” highlighted the politics of Burma and its 2011 transition to civilian rule. The country, bordering China, is at a particularly important moment in its history, as it attempts to modernize and open to the outside world while maintaining its identity. Dali Yang, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and member of the Institute’s Faculty Advisory Board, moderated the event.