A+ A-

Myanmar Studies

Myanmar Studies


Among the first of its kind to be established in Southeast Asia (and in Singapore), the Myanmar Studies Programme’s ambit is on policy-oriented research pertaining to the reforms taking place in Myanmar, and the emerging issues and trends in the country’s transition to democracy. Through research, seminars, conferences, consultations and publications – undertaken individually or in partnership with other like-minded entities – the Myanmar Studies Programme seeks to give a critical analysis (and policy-relevant recommendations) on issues and events in Myanmar.

Interest in Myanmar has grown since the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) election victory in November 2015.  In particular, the ongoing Rohingya crisis and ethnic peace process are being monitored and scrutinised by the international community, including policy, academics and media.  These developments and the NLD government’s responses to them, as well as the prospects for continued economic reforms, will inform both voters in Myanmar and the international community on expectations for the 2020 general elections.

In support of ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute’s mission, the Myanmar Studies Programme studies the socio-political, security and economic trends and developments in Myanmar. The Myanmar Studies Programme seeks to be an intellectual resource for scholars and policy-makers interested in Myanmar as the country progresses with reforms towards democratisation. To this end, the Programme will devote its research primarily to analysing recent developments and events in Myanmar, so that views, perspectives and recommendations generated from this research can be readily utilised by all those interested in Myanmar and her (re)emergence in the regional and international arenas.


Programme Coordinators

Ms Moe Thuzar coordinates the programme. Please contact Ms Thuzar (moe_thuzar@iseas.edu.sg) for further information.

Current Researchers and Affiliates

Past Affiliates

ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute also hosts researchers and scholars who work on Myanmar. Among those previously affiliated with the Institute are the following:

  • Professor Robert H. Taylor
  • Associate Professor Sean Turnell
  • Associate Professor Fan Hongwei
  • Mr Lex Reiffel
  • Dr Renaud Egreteau
  • Mr Thaung Tun
  • Mr Myint Soe
  • Mr Stuart Larkin
  • Dr Jurgen Haacke
  • Dr Maung Aung Myoe
  • Dr Amporn Jirattikorn
  • Dr Micah Francis Morton
  • Dr Lin Htet Aung
  • U Ye Htut
  • Dr Nyi Nyi Kyaw

Myanmar Forum 2016

ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute partnered with University of Michigan’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies for the Myanmar Forum which was held on Friday, 20 May 2016. Myanmar country specialists, business and government practitioners and an international audience of public and private sector actors interested in Myanmar’s development, participated in the Forum.

The highlight of the Forum was a dialogue session with U Ko Ko Gyi, General Secretary of the 88 Generation (Peace and Open Society) which is a highly respected political organization born out of the student-led democracy protests of 1988. U Ko Ko Gyi is a leading Burmese politician, democracy activist and former prisoner of conscience.

More than 150 participants attended the Myanmar Forum 2016.

For more information, please click here.

International Burma Studies Conference 2014

ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, together with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Centre for Asian Legal Studies of the National University of Singapore organised the International Burma Studies Conference 2014 on “Envisioning Myanmar: Issues, Images, Identities” from the 1st to the 3rd August 2014. This theme has attracted a diverse collection of panels and papers from across the humanities and social sciences, as well as from the fields of law, policy, development, media, civil society and other professional fields.

Our ongoing collaboration with international partners, especially the Centre for Burma Studies (based at Northern Illinois University, USA) and the Burma Studies Group of the Association of Asian Studies has enabled us to bring together scholars from Asia, Europe, Australia and North America. Most importantly, we were able to host a number of special guests from Myanmar who were featured in the Plenary and Closing Sessions.

To find out more about IBSC 2014 or access the panel abstracts, click here. To view photos of IBSC 2014, click here.


For upcoming seminars, please check the events section of the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute website.

Seminars and conferences in the recent past are:

  • “Roundtable: Myanmar’s Media Landscape: Changes and Challenges”, 23 March 2017
  • Dr Jayde Lin Roberts: “Does Urbanisation Equal Development in Myanmar?”, 24 March 2017
  • Dr Renaud Egreteau: “Towards ‘Pork Barrel’ Legislative Politics in Myanmar?” 27 April 2017
  • Professor Jacques Bertrand: “Decentralization and Minority Representation in Post-Transition Myanmar: A Comparative Perspective”, 6 December 2017
  • Professor Sean Turnell: “Myanmar’s Economy: Progress, Challenges and Prospect”, 25 May 2018
  • Dr Morten Pedersen: “Democratising Myanmar’s National Security State”, 24 May 2016
  • Dr Maung Aung Myoe: “Myanmar Foreign Policy since 2011: Continuities and Changes”, 26 October 2015
  • Dr Kyaw Yin Hlaing, Dr Ma Thida, Mr Kyaw Zwa Moe: “Myanmar Elections 2015: Issues and Concerns”, 2 October 2015
  • “The Ethnic Chinese of Myanmar: A Multidisciplinary Workshop”, 28 August 2015
  • Dr Renaud Egreteau: “Getting to Know the Retired Military Officers in Myanmar’s Parliament”, 7 May 2015
  • A/P Sean Turnell and Mr Stuart Larkin: “What is the Right Path to Myanmar’s Economy?”, 23 January 2015
  • International Burma Studies Conference 2014, 1-3 August 2014, Singapore  (coordinator: Moe Thuzar)
  • Dr Tin Maung Maung Than: “Amending Myanmar’s Constitution: Compromise or Contention”?, 18 March 2014
  • A/P Sean Turnell: “Banking and Financial Sector Reform in Myanmar”. 7 February 2014
  • A/P Sean Turnell: (In-house) “Recent Banking Reforms in Myanmar”, 19 December 2013
  • A/P Fan Hongwei: (In-house) “New Perceptions of Myanmar in China”, 18 November 2013
  • “Myanmar at the Margins”, 14-15 November 2013, Singapore  (coordinator: Oh Su-Ann)
  • Dr Tin Maung Maung Than, Ms Moe Thuzar, Professor Robert Tayor:  “Myanmar Reforms Two Years On”, 11 April 2013
  • Dr Tin Maung Maung Than: “Ethnic Conflict and Peacemaking in Myanmar”, 12 March 2013
  • Mr Toshihiro Kudo, Mr Koji Kubo: “Challenges of Economic Reform in Myanmar”, 25 February 2013
  • “International Conference on Myanmar: Setting the Stage for Economic Transition”, 25-26 October 2012, Naypyitaw, Myanmar (coordinator: Omkar Shrestha and Aekapol Chongvilaivan)
  • Dr Tin Maung Maung Than: “The Tatmadaw and Myanmar Reforms”, 17 October 2012
  • “Myanmar Forum 2012”, 8 June 2012, Singapore   (coordinator: Moe Thuzar)
  • Ms Moe Thuzar and Mr Thaung Tun: “By-Elections and Sanctions: Matching Action with Action”, 27 April 2012


ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute has published research and analyses on Myanmar in various formats. Each edition of the bimonthly ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute Monitor and the annual Southeast Asian Affairs also covers Myanmar. Scholarship and research on Myanmar frequently appear in the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute journals Contemporary Southeast Asia, Journal of Southeast Asian Economies and SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia.

ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute Perspective Issues

Titles on Myanmar include the following:

Oh Su-Ann and Veena Nair Landmines in Myanmar: No Solution in Sight (26 September 2016)
Lin Htet Aung Democratic Myths in Myanmar’s Transition (2 December 2016)
Hoang Thi Ha and Ye Htut Rakhine Crisis Challenges ASEAN’s Non-interference Principle (21 December 2016)
Note: This perspective is jointly relevant to ASEAN Studies Centre and to the Myanmar Studies Programme
Robert Taylor Myanmar’s Military and the Dilemma of Federalism (7 February 2017)
Lin Htet Aung Separating Facts from Assumptions in Myanmar’s Democratisation (28 February 2017)
Nick J. Freeman Whither the Yangon Stock Exchange? (6 March 2017)
Micah F. Morton Indigenous Peoples Work to Raise Their Status in a Reforming Myanmar (22 May 2017)
Renaud Egreteau Negotiating Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector in Myanmar (6 June 2017)
Thomas Kean Myanmar’s Telecommunications Law Threatens the Democratisation Process (11 July 2017)
Ye Htut A Background to the Security Crisis in Northen Rakhine (23 October 2017)
Oh Su-Ann The Rohingyas in Bangladesh: Another Round in the Cycle of Exodus and Repatriation (6 December 2017)
Oh Su-Ann Surveillance and Control: The Encampment and Biometric Identification of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh (19 December 2017)
Moe Thuzar and Lex Rieffel ASEAN’s Myanmar Dilemma (8 January 2018)
Note: This perspective is jointly relevant to ASEAN Studies Centre and to the Myanmar Studies Programme
Oh Su-Ann Drudges or Providers? Working Children in Myanmar (24 May 2016)
Robert Taylor Myanmar’s Presidential Transition: There May (or May Not) Be Trouble Ahead (15 February 2016)
Moe Thuzar Myanmar’s 2015 Elections: New Hope on the Horizon? (17 December 2015)
Kai Oswald and Paul Schuler Myanmar’s Landmark Election: Unresolved Questions (8 December 2015)
Maung Aung Myoe Presidential Hopefuls in Myanmar’s 2015 Elections (3 November 2015)
Oh Su-Ann A Primer on the Elections in Myanmar, or Six Things You Need to Know About the Myanmar Elections (17 September 2015)
Stuart Larkin Myanmar Tycoons: Vested Interest Resisting Reform or Agents of Change (22 July 2015)
Leo Suraydinata Can the Kokang Chinese Problem in Myanmar be Resolved? (15 July 2015)
Lex Reiffel Improving the Performance of the State Economic Enterprise Sector in Myanmar (10 July 2015)
Oh Su-Ann On the Rohingya, Statelessness and “Trafficking”” Separating the Fundamental from the Sensational (30 June 2015)
Robert H. Taylor Ethnicity, Federalism, Citizenship and Politics in Myanmar (26 June 2015)
Robert H. Taylor Refighting Old Battles, Compounding Misconceptions: The Politics of Ethnicity in Myanmar Today (2 March 2015)
Nick Freeman Betwixt “Burmese” Cottages and Cronies: The Political Economy of ‘Myanmar Inc.’ (10 February 2015)
Oh Su-Ann Counting and Being Counted: Ethnicity and Politics in Myanmar’s Census (23 October 2014)
Stuart Larkin Myanmar: Between Economic Miracle and Myth (11 July 2014)
Zhao Hong Japan and China Compete for Good Relations with Myanmar (2 July 2014)
Stephanie Shannon and Nicholas Farrelly Ethnic Chinese in the Midst of Myanmar’s Transition (1 April 2014)
Fan Hongwei China Adapts to New Myanmar Realities (3 March 2014)
Fan Hongwei Enmity in Myanmar Against China (17 February 2014)
Sean Turnell Expanding Cooperative Credit in Myanmar: Renaissance or Regression? (27 January 2014)
Sean Turnell Myanmar’s Central Bank Law Reveals Reform Challenge (13 January 2014)
Moe Thuzar Is Myanmar Ready for the ASEAN Chair? (30 December 2013)
John Lee Myanmar Pivots Awkwardly Away from China (12 December 2013)
Oh Su-Ann Prospects for Ending Child Soldiering in Myanmar (16 September 2013)
Stephanie Shannon and Nicholas Farrelly Whither Myanmar’s Chinese Stranglehold? (27 June 2013)
Zhao Hong The China-Myanmar Energy Pipelines: Risks and Benefits (15 May 2013)
Tin Maung Maung Than Ethnic Insurgencies and Peacemaking in Myanmar (11 April 2013)
Moe Thuzar Myanmar and the 2014 ASEAN Chairmanship (18 March 2013)
Oh Su-Ann Rohingya Boat Arrivals in Thailand: From the Frying Pan into the Fire? (4 March 2013)
Oh Su-Ann Rohingya or Bengali? Revisiting the Paradox of Labelling (10 December 2012)
Robert H. Taylor Obama in Myanmar: A Visit with Limited Significance (19 November 2012)
Ian Storey US-Myanmar Defence Cooperation: From Disengagement to Limited Engagement (22 October 2012)
Moe Thuzar and Tin Maung Maung Than Myanmar’s Rohingya Dilemma (9 July 2012)


ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute has published a wide range of influential monographs and edited volumes on Myanmar. Some recent and popular titles are:

  • Ashley South and Marie Hall (ed.) Citizenship in Myanmar: Ways of Being in and from Burma (2017)
  • Goh Geok Yian, John N Miksic and Michael Aung-Thwin, Bagan and the World: Early Myanmar and Its Global Connections (2017)
  • Su-Ann Oh (ed.) Myanmar’s Mountain and Maritime Borderscapes: Local Practices, Boundary-Making and Figured Worlds (2016)
  • Nick Cheesman, Nicholas Farrelly (eds): Conflict in Myanmar: War, Politics, and Religion (2016)
  • Robert H.Taylor: General Ne Win: A Political Biography (2015)
  • Nick Cheesman, Nicholas Farrelly, Trevor Wilson (eds): Debating Democratisation in Myanmar (2014)
  • Maung Aung Myoe: In the Name of Pauk-Phaw (2011)
  • Nick Cheesman, Monique Skidmore and Trevor Wilson: Myanmar’s Transition (2012)
  • Chao Tzang Yawnghwe: The Shan of Burma: Memoirs of a Shan Exile (2010)
  • Nick Cheesman, Monique Skidmore and Trevor Wilson: Ruling Myanmar (2010)
  • Maung Aung Myoe: Building the Tatmadaw (2009)
  • Christopher Roberts:  ASEAN’s Myanmar Crisis (2009)
  • Pavin Chachavalpongpun and Moe Thuzar: Myanmar: Life After Nargis (2009)
  • Ashley South: Civil Society in Burma (2008)
  • Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung: The Karen Revolution in Burma (2008)
  • Robert H.Taylor: Dr Maung Maung (2008)
  • Tin Maung Maung Than: State Dominance in Myanmar (2006)
  • N. Ganesan, Kyaw Yin Hlaing (eds): Myanmar: State, Society and Ethnicity (2007)
  • Mary Callahan: Political Authority in Burma’s Ethnic Minority States (2007)
  • Zaw Oo and Win Min: Assessing Burma’s Ceasefire Accords (2007)
  • Tom Kramer: The United Wa State Party (2007)
  • Kyaw Yin Hlaing, Robert Taylor and Tin Maung Maung Than (eds): Myanmar: Beyond Politics to Societal Imperatives (2005)
  • Mya Than: Myanmar in ASEAN (2005)
  • Mya Than and Joseph L.H. Tan: Myanmar: Dilemmas and Options (1990)