- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

Myanmar's Growing Regional Role

The Issues

Myanmar’s recent domestic reforms and improved relations with the United States, European Union, Japan, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have opened the door for Myanmar to be an important regional player. The key—Myanmar’s foreign policy development and growing regional role—will not only have an impact on the country's own economic development but also have significant implications for the strength and coherence of ASEAN. As Naypyidaw prepares to serve as the 2014 chair of ASEAN, the time is ripe to find ways to support Myanmar’s re-emergence and to deepen understanding of the dynamic that will shape the country’s new foreign policy.

Project Leads

Meredith Miller
Senior Vice President of Trade, Economic, and Energy Affairs & Outreach and Director of the Washington, D.C., Office

Abraham Denmark
Senior Vice President for Political and Security Affairs and External Relations

Project Objectives

  • In October of 2013, NBR organized a study tour of Myanmar by the project’s senior advisors to meet with government, business, and civil society stakeholders. This laid the groundwork for the subsequent report “Myanmar’s Growing Regional Role,” which aims to support Myanmar’s 2014 chairmanship of ASEAN.

Project Activities

  • An organized study tour of Myanmar by the project’s senior advisors to meet with government, business, and civil society stakeholders. This will lay the groundwork for the publication of a project report to support Myanmar’s 2014 chairmanship of ASEAN.
  • A public report rollout in Washington, D.C., will highlight the findings of the study trip and implications for U.S. policy.
  • A workshop on the West Coast will provide a venue for scholars, civil society representatives, business leaders, and government officials to discuss Myanmar’s re-emergence.

Policy Importance

NBR has identified the opportunities and challenges presented by Myanmar’s re-emergence and is providing recommendations for Myanmar, the United States, and other regional actors as Naypyidaw assumes a more prominent international role. This includes outlining specific steps the international community can take to facilitate Myanmar’s development of a capable foreign ministry, active civil society, and strong cohort of experts integrated into regional networks.

Senior Advisors

Mely Caballero Anthony
Associate Professor and Head of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University

Catharin E. Dalpino
Contract Course Chair, Foreign Service Institute

Priscilla A. Clapp
Minister-Counselor (Retired), US Foreign Service

Morten Pedersen
Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of New South Wales, Australia

Project Sponsor

This initiative is made possible by the generous support of The Henry Luce Foundation.

Project Supporter

This initiative is made possible by the generous support of Chevron.


For more information about this initiative, including details on roundtables, ongoing research, and sponsorship opportunities, please contact:

Clara Gillispie
Director of Trade, Economic, and Energy Affairs (TEEA)

More Information

For more information on NBR's work on Southeast Asia, download the brochure "Myanmar's Growing Regional Role" (PDF).

For more information on NBR's work on Southeast Asia, download the brochure "Engaging Southeast Asia" (PDF).

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