Whither Myanmar’s Rakhine State?


About the Seminar

Following deadly communal violence in 2017-2018 and half a decade of open warfare between Myanmar’s armed forces and the Arakan Army (AA), Rakhine State has come to enjoy relative—if fragile—stability. The AA has a declared goal, known as the Arakan Dream or Way of Rakhita, modelled on the self-administration enjoyed by Myanmar’s Wa State and perhaps involving independence. It has achieved territorial control of most of Rakhine State, with an administrative footprint in the judicial sector, policing, and local administration including taxation—especially in rural areas where most Rakhine, Rohingya and other residents of the state live. The direction of relationships among the AA, the State Administration Council junta, People’s Defense Forces and the National Unity Government remains unclear. At the same time, concern over the Rohingya crisis and alleged genocide, along with Chinese interests in Rakhine State, demonstrates the war-torn state’s geopolitical relevance.

The seminar will address the implications of unfolding realities in Rakhine State, with attention both to Myanmar’s national politics and international interest in the state and to local communities’ efforts to cope with the combined impacts of renewed military rule, Covid-19, and the humanitarian challenges of protracted warfare.

About the Speakers

Aung Tun is Visiting Fellow, Myanmar Studies Programme, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. He is a development specialist focusing on policy and governance issues and has worked with stakeholders including government and civil society organizations in Myanmar, as well as with the United Nations Development Program and the Asian Development Bank.

Jacques P. Leider has headed the research centres of the Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) in Yangon, Chiang Mai and Bangkok. He has had diplomatic and consulting roles relating to conflict issues with United Nations organizations. He has researched and published extensively on the history and identity of the Rohingya communities in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. His latest publication is a policy brief on “The Arakan Army, Rakhine State and the Promise of Arakan’s independence” (Brussels: TOAEP, 2022).


This is a hybrid event which will be held at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

To join the event in-person at ISEAS, please register via the ISEAS mobile app, available on iOS and Android via the Apple or Play store. Search “ISEAS” to find or scan this QR code.

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Seating capacity is limited. Do register early to avoid disappointment.

Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.


Jun 14 2022


GMT +8
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2 / Webinar