Thu, Nov 08, 2018 - Page 14 News List

How Myanmar has become a nation with ‘limited liberalism’

Myanmar specialist Ian Holliday will give a lecture about reforms since the election of Aung San Suu Kyi

By Noah Buchan  /  Staff reporter

Hong Kong University academic and Myanmar specialist Ian Holliday will give a lecture on the current state of the country’s human rights and liberalization.

Photo courtesy of the Lung Yingtai Cultural Foundation

Myanmar expert Ian Holliday will be in Taipei next week to give a lecture, Liberalism and Democracy in Myanmar, to examine the country’s ongoing political reforms.

It’s an apt time to do so as Myanmar’s human rights record has been sorely tested over the past year with the jailing of two Reuters reporters who were investigating the deaths of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces, which resulted in a crackdown that saw 700,000 flee into Bangladesh.

The lecture will be held on Nov. 17 at the Taiwan Academy of Banking and Finance and is part of the Lung Yingtai Cultural Foundation’s (龍應台文化基金會) Taipei Salon (台北沙龍) series of lectures by international speakers.

Lung Yingtai (龍應台), the foundation’s founder and former Minister of Culture, will moderate.

While rolling out democratic reforms, Myanmar has experienced growing pains as the military continues to exert a stranglehold on the government and the public, while State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has remained largely silent. An important question to ask the 50 million people of this Southeast Asian nation is: what are the prospects for liberal democracy in Myanmar?

Holliday, the Vice-President of the University of Hong Kong (Teaching and Learning), will raise the notion of “limited liberalism,” a blend of liberal and illiberal attitudes among politicians and citizens, to describe the current state of the Myanmar’s political reforms by examining the nation’s historical circumstances, constitutionalism, democracy, major political actors, ethnic conflict and transitional justice.

Holliday has spent many years studying the political reforms in Myanmar and the security dilemma faced by those fleeing the country. He is one of the world’s top experts on the South Asian country, and is the author of more than 100 academic publications, including the book Burma Redux: Global Justice and the Quest for Political Reform in Myanmar, as well as Liberalism and Democracy in Myanmar, to be published in 2019.

■ Taiwan Academy of Banking and Finance (台灣金融研訓院), 2F, 62 Roosevelt Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路三段62號2樓)

■ Nov. 17 from 2pm to 3:30pm; free admission, but those wanting to attend must pre-register at www.civictaipei.org/registration.php (English and Chinese). For more information, call Tiffany Jan at (02) 3322-4907, Ext. 12. The lecture will be held in English.

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