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Myanmar crisis: Is there a pathway to democracy?

March 31, 2023 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Two years on from the 1st February 2021 coup d’etat Myanmar is on a trajectory to a failed rogue state. The military junta continues to wage a brutal war against its own people, more than 1.2 million have been internally displaced, the economy has collapsed and the UN reports that 50% of the population are living in poverty.

Against this backdrop, the regime is gearing up to hold elections later this year. It presents this as a return to civilian rule but it is seen as a move to consolidate its control by making a transition from emergency rule to a longer-term military-backed government. There is no prospect that these polls will be credible, and a high risk that it will intensify the violence.

The symposium will analyse the situation and explore whether there is any prospect of a return to democracy in this geo-political powder keg.




  • Right Honourable Helen Clark ONZ, former Prime Minister and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (pre-recorded video)
  • Professor David Capie – Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at the Victoria University of Wellington – Te Herenga Waka.
  • Susannah Patton – Director of the Southeast Asia Programme at the Lowy Institute Sydney.
  • Dr Tun-Aung Shwe – Representative to the Commonwealth of Australia of the National Unity Government of Myanmar.
  • Stephen Marshall – former NZ Ambassador to Myanmar.
  • Chris Sidoti – Australian human rights lawyer and Commissioner, and member of the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar.
  • Hon Margaret Wilson – former Attorney- General and Speaker of the New Zealand Parliament.

The symposium is a collaboration between the Kia Kaha Myanmar Group, the VUW Centre for Strategic Studies, the Asia New Zealand Foundation, the Helen Clark Foundation and UnionAID.


March 31, 2023
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Council Chamber Hunter Building
Victoria University of Wellington
Wellington, 6012 New Zealand
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