At an Asia House briefing on the changing context of Burma in 2012, the UK Government took its first public steps to show its emerging plans to support commercial engagement in the country. Since then, the global shift in the way that Burma is treated is significant. Along with visits from various Prime Ministers and Presidents, the World Economic Forum on East Asia was recently held in the country. Many of our corporate members were represented there.
At Asia House, we’ve been curating programmes to cater for this increased interest and providing opportunities for people to understand more about the commercial, cultural and political context of Burma. For example, the British Ambassador to Burma, Andy Heyn, has participated in two Asia House events this year; he briefed our corporate members at a private breakfast meeting and spoke at our New Asian Middle Class conference. We held Burma Day during the Festival of Asian Literature, which included a Burmese/English poetry recital and closed this year’s Pan-Asia Film Festival with Poor Folk, a story of two Burmese hustlers and their experiences in Thailand.
On 25 June, Asia House welcomed the 88 Generation – a group of former political prisoners, most released in 2012 after each spending a total of 15 years in jail. This is one of the first overseas trips that the 88 Generation have taken; most only received their passports last year.
Together, they gave us an insightful and up to date briefing on contemporary Burma and the challenges that face the country. Issues discussed in the briefing included:
– Ethical investment and CSR
– Changing rules and regulations of FDI
– Evolution of the telecommunications sector
– Land rights
– 88 Generation and the National League for Democracy (NLD)
Apart from learning about the current political and economic situation, participants were able to express their views as well as share their experiences and concerns during this private roundtable discussion held under the Chatham House Rule.
The visit, organised by UKTI and the British Council, is designed to build the 88 Generation’s capacity to develop and influence policy, and advance respect and protection for human rights in Burma, and to consolidate the UK’s relationship with its future political leadership.
For more information about the 88 Generation visit and any future events on Burma, please contact our Business and Policy Team.