The 2023 Myanmar Update aims to understand, celebrate, and explicate the Myanmar people’s resistance to the 1 February 2021 coup. The military’s violent crackdown on what was initially a peaceful popular uprising provoked a near-countrywide revolutionary movement, which has brought together an array of different political, ethnic, and religious groups fighting for the shared goal of ending military rule. While differences exist in objectives and strategies, the establishment of organisations like the National Unity Government (NUG) and the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), as well as the numerous other formal and informal alliances, has arguably created an unprecedented sense of unity among Myanmar’s diverse peoples and raised widespread hope that this time the struggle may succeed.    

The conference seeks to explore the complexities of the revolutionary struggle; the effects of the coup on the state and economy; and, the myriad ways in which the people in Myanmar are coping with deepening violence and poverty.

  • How has the coup and the popular response to it reshaped Myanmar politics?
  • How are new armed groups forming, and how are they sustained?
  • What has happened to the civil disobedience movement?
  • What are the social, economic, and psychological implications of continued violence?
  • How is the diaspora contributing to the revolution?
  • How can foreign governments and the international aid community best support resistance to dictatorship?

We aim to address these kinds of questions, among others, in this conference.

The conference will take place at The Australian National University on Friday 21 July – Saturday 22 July 2023.

The two-day conference will feature scholars and experts from Australia, Myanmar, UK, North America and around the regions.

There are also pre-conference events on Thursday 20 July that we will list on our conference program with more information:

Convening Committee

  • Cecile Medail - Visiting Fellow, Department of Political and Social Change, ANU, cecile.medail@anu.edu.au
  • Morten Pedersen - Board member, Myanmar Research Centre, ANU, Morten.Pedersen@adfa.edu.au
  • Yuri Takahashi - Lecturer and Convenor of the Burmese Program, ANU, Yuri.Takahashi@anu.edu.au
  • Samuel Hmung - Research Officer, Myanmar Research Centre, ANU, Samuel.hmung@anu.edu.au

Sponsors

The 2023 ANU Myanmar Update is supported by the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, the International Development Research Centre, Canada, the International IDEA, and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Conference Participation

IN-PERSON ATTENDANCE 
We would love for you to join us in person, in the Auditorium, Australian Centre on China in the World Building #188 on the ANU Campus, on Friday 21 July and Saturday 22 July. 

ONLINE-ATTENDANCE
The 2023 Myanmar Update will be live streamed via Zoom Events. Please note no Q&A from the online audience, and some sessions are in-person only, we apologies for this inconvenience.

REGISTRATION 
Please register in-person and online tickets via Zoom Events. You will get both in-person and online tickets via Zoom Events. If you have any queries, or need assistance to register in the Zoom Eevents platform, please let us know. Email: parnerships.cap@anu.edu.au 

PLEASE NOTE: 

Free of charge

  • Reception for the launch of exhibition and guest lecture (20 July 2023)
  • Pre-conference dinner for speakers, chairs and invited guests (20 July 2023)
  • Conference reception (21 July 2023)
  • Morning tea and afternoon tea (21 July 2023)
  • Afternoon tea (22 July 2023)
  • Lunch for speakers, chairs and organisers (21-22 July 2023)

Fees for general participants

  • Conference lunch (21 & 22 July) is proudly provided by the Australia Mon Association in Canberra: $10 per meal for participant.

PRELIMINARY PROGRAM

Pre-conference Events (Thursday 20 July)

8.30am-4.30pm Early Career Researcher workshop (by invitation)

4.30-5pm Launch of Myanmar Update photo exhibition by Mayco Naing (Artist and Curator)

Venue: Auditorium Foyer, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

  • Introduction by exhibition curator Mayco Naing
  • Photo exhibition by Mauk Kham Wah and Mayco Naing
  • Video documentary -1 minute per day in the 60 days following the coup by M. (screening all day on 21-22 July only, CIW seminar room)

5-5.30pm Refreshments (for exhibition and guest address)

5.30-6.30pm Guest Lecture - De-‘Area Studies’-izing Burmese History: the African (and African American) ‘Burma” Experience in the Twentieth Century

Venue: Auditorium, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

  • Michael Charney, SOAS, University of London

7-8.30pm Preconference Dinner (by invitation) 

Day 1 (Friday 21 July)

Venue: Auditorium, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

9-9.30am Welcome

  • Welcome to the Country by Paul Girrawah House, First Nations Portfolio, ANU
  • Opening remarks by Helen Sullivan, Dean of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

9.30-10.30am Keynote Address 

Chair: Nick Cheesman, ANU

  • H.E. Zin Mar Aung, Minister of Foreign Affairs, National Unity Government of the Union of Myanmar (online)
  • Discussant: Tun Aung Shwe, Representative to Australia of the National Unity Government of the Union of Myanmar

10.30-10.45am Morning Tea

10.45am-12.45pm Political Update

Chair: Andrew Selth, Griffith University

  • Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Ye Myo Hein, Wilson Center (online)

12.45-1.45pm Lunch Break

1.45- 3.15pm Panel 1: The Revolutionary Movement

Chair: George Lawson, ANU

  • Samuel Hmung and Michael Dunford, Australian National University - “Understanding Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement”
  • Ellen, McMaster University, Canada - “Women's agency in armed struggles in Myanmar's Spring Revolution”
  • Lukas Nagel, Griffith University - “Creative resistance and nationalism among youth activists in post-coup Myanmar”

3.15-3.30pm Afternoon Tea

3.30-5pm Panel 2: Revolutionary Governance

Chair: Jane Ferguson, ANU

  • Gerard McCarthy and Kyle Nyana, Erasmus University - “Governing revolution: Post-coup insurgent social order in Chin State and Sagaing Region” (online)
  • Tay Zar Myo Win, Deakin University - “Emerging local governance in Anyar”
  • Khin Zaw Win, Tampadipa Institute - "Reimagining the goals of the Spring Revolution"

5-6.30pm Conference Reception (In-person only)

Venue: Auditorium Foyer, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

  • Promotion of Art Exhibition: How to quantify FEAR? by artist and curator Mayco Naing 

Day 2 (Saturday 22 July)

Venue: Auditorium, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

9.30-10.00am Book Launch: "Myanmar in Crisis" (In-person only)

  • Book author: Michael Dunford, Australian National University 
  • Discussant: Cecilia Jacob, Australian National University 

Book Sale - A limited number of books are available for sale for AUD $25 (card only).

10am-12pm Economic Update and Humanitarian Issues 

Chair: Paul Burke, ANU

  • Jared Bissinger, Independent analyst
  • Tom Kean, International Crisis Group
  • Anne Décobert, and Tamas Wells, University of Melbourne -“Myanmar’s humanitarian crisis and the conflict paradox for local aid organisations"

12-1pm Lunch Break

1-3pm Policy Panel & Closing Remarks (In-person only)

Chair: Morten Pedersen, UNSW Canberra 

  • Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Khin Zaw Win, Tampadipa Institute
  • Jared Bissinger, Independent analyst
  • Representative, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

3-3.15pm Afternoon Tea

3.15-4.45pm Burmese Language Roundtable: "Researching and reporting in post-coup Myanmar" (In-person only)

Venue: Seminar Room, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

Chair: Samuel Hmung, ANU

  • Swe Win, Myanmar Now 
  • Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Khin Zaw Win, Tampadipa Institute

 

မြန်မာဘာသာ စကားဝိုင်း၊ “အာဏာသိမ်းပြီးမြန်မာနိုင်ငံတွင် သုတေသနပြုလုပ်ခြင်းနှင့် သတင်းတင်ဆက်ခြင်း”

သဘာပတိ - Samuel Hmung (ANU)

  • ဦးဆောင်ဆွေးနွေးသူ - Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung (University of Massachusetts Lowell)ဆွေဝင်း (Myanmar Now)၊ ခင်ဇော်ဝင်း (Tampadipa Institute)

Climate change is not just an environmental threat but poses major and growing risks to the health of today’s population and future generations. It is already adversely affecting human health and health systems, and projected climate change will also increasingly undermine the functioning of health care systems and broader public health efforts. While adaptation is essential, there will be limits to our ability to adapt, and cutting emissions rapidly to protect health is vital. Progress towards zero emissions will bring not only long term benefits for health by reducing the risks from climate change but will also improve health in the near term, for instance through reduced exposure to air pollution by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy; healthy and more sustainable food and transport systems. This presentation will summarise the evidence for the health (co-) benefits of climate action and suggest how progress towards net zero emissions could be accelerated.

Episode 13 will feature Prof Sir Andy Haines: Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health, Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health, co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Climate Change, Health and Sustainable Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. 

Andy was formerly Professor of Primary Health Care at UCL and Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine from 2001- October 2010. He was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the 2nd , 3rd  and 5th assessment exercises. He chaired the Rockefeller /Lancet Commission on Planetary Health and the InterAcademy Partnership working group on climate change and health. He currently co-chairs the Lancet Pathfinder Commission on Pathways to a Healthy Net Zero Future. He was knighted for services to medicine in 2005. He was awarded the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in 2022 and a DSc honoris causa by ANU in 2024.

The Saving the World Webinar Series is presented by the Planetary Health Equity Hothouse, the series discusses the intersections between climate change, inequity, and human health. The focus is on actions that enable transformative change away from the harmful consumptogenic system to systems that promote good health, social equity and environmental wellbeing.

Event Speakers

Photo of Andy Haines by a window

Andy Haines

Sir Andy Haines is Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health, Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health, co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Climate Change Health and Sustainable Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Sharon Friel

Sharon Friel

Prof Sharon Friel is an ARC Laureate Fellow, Professor of Health Equity and Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Governance at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), Australian National University. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia and co-Director of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity.

Megan Arthur

Megan Arthur

Dr Megan Arthur is a Laureate Research Fellow with the Planetary Health Equity Hothouse. She is an interdisciplinary qualitative researcher working at the intersection of social policy and public health. She studies the politics of governance for health and wellbeing at multiple levels.

“We need stories. And not just stories about the stakes, which we know are high, but stories about the places we call home. Stories about our own small corners of the Earth as we know them. As we love them.” – Julian Aguon, To Hell With Drowning, 2021

The 2023 AAPS conference theme emphasises the need to resist and reframe fatalist and narrow representations of Oceania.

From the highlands to the islands, the conference aims to advance multiscopic understandings of Oceanic people’s relationships and relationality of places through storytelling rooted in a trans-disciplinary, critical and creative Pacific Studies.

Endorsing Indigenous human rights lawyer and writer Julian Aguon’s call for “stories about the places we call home”, we seek stories and conversations that illuminate fierce attachments to place and the immense beauty, magic and abundance of Oceania.

The Pacific Studies community recognises both ancestral and contemporary kinships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, South Sea Islanders, Māori and Pacific Islanders.

The 2023 conference will take place at the Australian National University, an institution that is located on the unceded lands of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people and central to the Australian coloniality that continues to impinge upon the sovereignties of First Nations of this Country and beyond in Oceania. It is also an institution central to the decolonial possibilities envisaged by Pacific Studies.

This conference understands this place as a site for meaningful solidarities and approaches to Pacific Studies that are both place-based and multi-sited in scope.

Ticket information:

  • Early Bird tickets and prices for participation (for the full four days of the conference) are currently available until 11.55 pm on Friday 17 February 2023.
  • From Saturday 18 February 2023, Standard Registration tickets and prices for participation (for the full four days of the conference) will apply.
  • If you want to be eligible for members' prices, please be sure to join AAPS via our website.
  • Registration includes an evening reception on Tuesday evening and morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea from Wednesday-Friday.
  • Aside from this, don't forget to make sure you get a ticket to the conference dinner as well in your purchase!
  • In the checkout questions, you will be able to list your dietary requirements, access needs and if you are a postgraduate/ECR if you would like to participate in the Tarcisius Kabutaulaka's masterclass on the afternoon of Tuesday,11 April 2023.
  • If you would like to participate in only one day of the conference, you can purchase one of the 'Daily flat rate' ticket.

Please note that this conference is an in-person event. However, the Epeli Hau’ofa public lecture will be recorded and uploaded at a later date.

Postgraduate/ECR workshop:

The postgraduate/ECR workshop will take place on Tuesday afternoon, 11 April 2023. We encourage postgraduates and ECRs to join us in the afternoon from 12pm for the workshop with lunch provided. Registrations are limited to 30 places and are essential. 

Program:

Tues 11 April - The Welcome to Country and the Epeli Hau’ofa public lecture - late afternoon. This will be followed by an evening reception for all registered participants of the conference.

Wednesday 12 April - Friday 14 April 2023 will consist of a series of keynote plenaries, as well as, three parallel streams of sessions across multiple sites on The Australian National University campus including the HC Coombs Building, the Hedley Bull Building, the Menzies Library, the Coombs Extension and other locations.

Speakers, sessions and convenors

Announced speakers:

  • Maureen Penjueli - Pacific Network on Globalisation, Keynote panellist
  • Yuki Kihara - Artist, Keynote panellist
  • Ronny Kareni - United Liberation Movement for West Papua – Pacific Representative, Keynote panellist
  • Professor Alice Te Punga Somerville - University of British Columbia, Keynote panellist
  • Kim Kruger - Moondani Balluk Academic Centre at Victoria University, Keynote panellist
  • Professor Emeritus Terence Wesley-Smith - Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Keynote panellist
  • Joy Lehuanani Enomoto - Koa Futures/Hawai’i Peace and Justice, Keynote panellist
  • Aunty Sana Balai - Living Museum of Logan, Keynote panellist
  • Dr Melinda Mann - CQUniversity, Keynote panellist
  • Lisa Hilli - School of Culture, History and Language, ANU, Keynote panellist
  • Professor Katerina Teaiwa - School of Culture, History and Language, ANU, Keynote panellist

Sessions and convenors:

  • Pacific Studies Fight Club?: ethics, politics and possibilities of critique, Professor Alice Te Punga Somerville
  • But whose lands are you on? Positioning Pacific diasporas on Aboriginal lands, Dr Melinda Mann and Kim Kruger
  • Stories of Environment and Disability in Oceania, Dr Bonnie Etherington
  • Navigating the Archives, Kathryn Dan
  • West Papua: Our Pacific Struggle, Joey Tau
  • Articulating Em(OCEAN): Survivance on a Sea of Islands, a Youngsolwara Tale of Beautiful Chaos, Jason Wesley Ravai Titifanue
  • ‘Oceanic Diplomacy’: Indigenous Diplomatic Pathways in the Contemporary Pacific, Honorary Associate Professor Greg Fry and Salā Dr George Carter
  • Rethinking Australian Coloniality through Pacific Biography, Professor Katerina Teaiwa, Dr Nicholas Hoare and Talei Luscia Mangioni
  • Ongo, lau tohi, pese (listen, read, sing): create!, Associate Professor Mandy Treagus and Rita Seumanutafa
  • Constructing belonging: Situating Indo-Fijian gendered narratives in Oceania, Domenica Gisella Calabrò and Romitesh Kant
  • Vā Hine: Embodied Relationality, Dr Tia Reihana and Dr Nālani Wilson-Hokowhitu
  • Embodying Vā: An activation through research, artistic expression and movement, Jasmin ‘Ofamo’oni
  • Suiga: A decolonial choreographic exploration of Christianity within the Pacific, Chas Mamea
  • Justice for Creation: Indigenous perspectives and the role of the church, Talitha Fraser and Raisera McCulloch
  • Navigating unchartered waters: critical approaches to law and Pacific Peoples, Associate Professor Rebecca Monson
  • Reframing and transforming oceans governance in Oceania, Pip Louey
  • To hell with the status quo! Translating equitable principles into meaningful actions in Pacific Fisheries, Dr Bianca Haas
  • Just Restore: what do Oceania communities tell us about ways to do Justice in Australia, Sarouche Razi
  • Environment Law in Practice: Perspectives from working in the Pacific, Dr Bal Kama
  • The Flying Canoe, Marita Davies
  • Mapping Otherwise Realms, Dr Emma Powell, Dr Jess Pasisi and Melanie Puka Bean
  • Refusing Fatalism: Voices for climate justice and decolonial futures, Emerita Professor Margaret Jolly, Dr Siobhan McDonnell and Vehia Wheeler
  • Decolonial Feminisms in Oceania: Localised and Regional Perspectives, Dr Cammi Webb-Gannon, Dr Jenny Munro and Elvira Rumbaku

Session types

These will be one of three types of sessions – presenting, creating and relating.

Presenting

Presenting sessions, or a session with prepared papers, may follow a more conventional format with a chair, a panel of presentations, and papers shared with the audience. We recommend keeping presentations brief (15 minutes maximum) and highly focused on stimulating discussion between panellists and the audience. We also encourage the possibility of multi-session seminars or ‘streams’, to promote deeper discussion of relevant themes. 

Relating

Relating sessions, or a session without papers can be based on Pacific modes of oral practice, including tok stori, talanoa and yarning circles. These include a dialogue or roundtable format or a workshop format in which presenters create interactive spaces between presenters and audiences. We encourage these sessions to intentionally engage trans-disciplinary Pacific studies, which incorporate participants who are community members, students, activists, practitioners and public officials, to move knowledge production beyond the academy. 

Creating 

Creating sessions are experimental sessions, including formats such as workshops, question-driven sessions, performances (weaving, dancing, spoken word, creative writing, etc.), film screenings, community engaged actions (zine-making, postering, etc.), reading groups with discussion of pre-circulated materials, resource and skills sharing sessions, and beyond. 

Event Speakers

Speakers

Various Distinguished Guests and Speakers

Various Distinguished Guests and Speakers

See the conference website for the program and other details.