Exchanging Ideas for a Democratic Myanmar


Friday, Nov 25 – Sunday, Dec 4, 2022, at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC).

The marketplace is an open space to discuss key policy issues from diverse perspectives while promoting gender equality and democratic values

This agenda consists of PUBLIC events, BY INVITATION ONLY events and CLOSED events as listed below. For further information about the agenda & attending events please contact: myanmar@idrc.ca

To register for this event please fill out the following REGISTRATION FORM

Photo Exhibit November 22nd until December 4th [Daily, except Monday] 10.00am – 8.00pm, BACC 5th Floor, Curved Walls

For PDF agenda click here

DAY 1 – Friday 25 November, LAUNCH of the K4DM KNOWLEDGE MARKETPLACE – Bangkok 2022.
Venue: BACC 5th floor ( Hall Area, Room 501, Curved walls). 1pm – 8pm [OPEN TO PUBLIC]

  • Opening Reception. Beverages & Light snack available & Live Burmese music [1:00pm – 2:00pm]
  • Welcome Remarks. Edgard Rodriguez (IDRC – Delhi) & Jason Tulk (GAC – Canadian embassy) [2:00pm – 2:15pm, BACC 5th Floor, Room 501]
  • Book Launch: “Winning by Process”. Moderator: Prof. Kai Ostwald (UBC), Speaker: Jacques Bertrand (co-author)[2:15pm – 3:45pm, BACC 5th Floor, Room 501]
    Winning by Process asks why the peace process stalled in the decade from 2011 to 2021 despite a liberalizing regime, a national ceasefire agreement, and a multilateral peace dialogue between the state and ethnic minorities. The book argues that stalled conflicts are more than pauses or stalemates. “Winning by process,” as opposed to winning by war or agreement, represents the state’s ability to gain advantage by manipulating the rules of negotiation, bargaining process, and sites of power and resources. During the last decade, the Myanmar state and military controlled the process, neutralized ethnic minority groups, and continued to impose their vision of a centralized state even as they appeared to support federalism.
  • 3:45pm – 4pm Tea Break & Burmese music
  • Roundtable Discussion: “Thought leadership to advance knowledge for Myanmar: What should come next?” [4:00 – 5:30pm, BACC 5th Floor, Room 501]
    Over the last decade, Myanmar’s transition to democracy has faced multiple milestones and challenges. The turbulence unleashed by COVID-19 and then the coup has undoubtedly introduced new risks in the transition to a future democratic state. A recent article in the New Mandala Post calls for, “the next generation of Myanmar scholars, whatever their backgrounds or ambitions, … to support knowledge creation throughout this time of fear, change and hardship and beyond.” Boosting investment in knowledge production and the use of locally-grounded social science research in Myanmar remains a critical element for a sustainable democratic transition. Leaders and scholars in social science research can assist local policy processes by asking the relevant policy questions, and by undertaking rigorous research and analyses to provide the evidence needed for public policy decision-making. Building a functional knowledge ecosystem is a major challenge for social science researchers themselves and for policy makers, not only in Myanmar but across the developing world. The roundtable will discuss from different perspectives from universities and civil society about what needs to be done to keep supporting knowledge that would prepare Myanmar people in their search for democratic governance after 2023.
  • Opening of Photo Exhibit “Through Eyes of Leadership: Women of Shan State” / “Ask the photographer” [5:30pm-6:00pm, Hall Area, outside Room 501]
  • Open Photo Exhibit & Networking – Tea break & Live Burmese music [Until 8pm]

    Photo Exhibit continues until December 4th [ Daily, except Monday] 10.00am – 8.00pm, BACC 5th Floor, Curved walls

DAY 2 – Saturday 26th November.
Venue: BACC Room 4th Floor – SEA Junction. 10.30am – 3.30pm [BY INVITATION ONLY]

  • “Observe & act”: Participatory research with Ethnic Armed Organizations & progress on the agenda on Women, Peace and Security [10:30am – 12pm]
    This session will showcase participatory research, as conducted by local researchers, Berghof Foundation, Germany, and Fight for Humanity, Switzerland, concerning the rights of women and girls in conflict contexts. It understands and involves Ethnic Armed Organizations, as duty bearers and potential enablers of women’s rights, as well as associated women’s movements in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
  • 12-2pm Lunch break
  • Tea Circle (I): Retrospective on the use of blogs to open virtual civic Venues [2pm – 3:30 pm]
    Tea Circle, established in 2015, is now housed in the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto. It represents a virtual forum for new and emerging perspectives on Burma/Myanmar during its current period of political and economic transition. The blog highlights analysis, research, opinions, book reviews, multi-media presentations and other types of submissions from a global audience of contributors. The session will review some of the recent highlights and how it can expand virtual civic spaces post 2021. It will introduce Tea Circle’s redesigned website & fully bilingual approach, invite collaborations as a platform for multi-media archives, and reflect on Tea Circle’s impact by revisiting an article from the archives, with commentary from the author and a reader.

DAY 3 – Sunday 27th November.
Venue: BACC Room 4th Floor – SEA Junction. 10.30am – 3.30pm [BY INVITATION ONLY]

  • Tea Circle (II): Writing Workshop- Blog/Social Media (in-person only) [10:30am – 12pm]
    Moderator: Dr. Matthew Walton (Asian Institute, U of Toronto)
    Come pitch your ideas or develop your submissions in a fully interactive writing workshop with Tea Circle editors! Editors will introduce the site and the submission/editing process and provide feedback on your ideas or drafts. Please bring your submissions in Burmese or English, and please RSVP to editor@teacircleoxford.com to reserve a place. This is a hands-on workshop for Myanmar scholars and activists who would like to learn tips on how to make submissions in English or Burmese to the Tea Circle. The session will be guided by bilingual editors.
  • 12-2pm Lunch break
  • The Virtual Federal University (VFU): Conversation on Distance Learning for Myanmar [2pm – 3:30 pm]
    Moderator: Myanmar student network (North America & Thailand)
    Political turmoil in Myanmar has meant closing of universities. In 1988, due to the student protests, the government closed down all universities for two years. In 1996 and 1998, additional student protests also caused all universities to be closed for another three years. In 2021, more than 11,000 academics and other university staff opposed to Myanmar’s ruling junta have been suspended after going on strike in protest against military rule. By May 2022, the Military Council’s Ministry of Education stated that universities and colleges opened but only a few students have enrolled. Post 2021, the emergence of online universities such as the Virtual Federal University and others represent an effort to fill the void in higher education. Can virtual education really close the gap?

DAY 4 – Monday 28th November

  • BACC closed. Photo Exhibit closed
  • Bangkok: K4DM Regional Advisory Committee By invitation from IDRC only  [11 – 12:30pm] [BY INVITATION ONLY]
  • Chiang Mai: Book Launch: “Winning by Process” [1 – 3pm] Prof. Bertrand – Book Launch, Chiang Mai University campus, with Ashley South and Tony Neil as discussants, organized by RCSD, Chiang Mai University [OPEN TO PUBLIC]

DAY 5 – Tuesday 29th November.
Venue: BACC Room 4th Floor – SEA Junction. 10am – 5pm

  • Women in the GIG Economy in Thailand and Myanmar.[10am – 11:30am]
    Moderator: Chiang Mai University, Faculty of Social Sciences / Knowledge Circle Foundation
    The 21st century is witness to major transformations reshaping the way in which people live and work. The rise of online labour platforms – mediating supply and demand for tasks and goods – are contributing to these shifts. These platforms enable workers to work directly from or near their homes, and manage their work on a case by case basis, getting paid by output produced, that is, taking on “gigs” either as contracted workers, or as entrepreneurs or freelancers. For women, platforms can potentially offer flexibility of hours and location, the opportunity to earn a higher income, and enter into more male-dominated or higher skilled work. The session will discuss findings for Myanmar and Thailand from “Women, Work and the Gig Economy”, a collaborative research initiative coordinated by the JustJobs Network (JJN) in Delhi, funded by IDRC as part of the Future of Work in the Global South initiative with focus on Myanmar and Thailand.
  • 11:30-11:45 Tea break
  • Update on Federalism in Myanmar [11:45am – 1:15pm]
    Moderator: Kai Ostwald (Institute for Asian Research-UBC)
    Since independence, Myanmar has been in search of a political system to accommodate its rich cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and religious identities. Ethnic minorities have called for federalism as a way to ensure the equality and rights of all groups. However, under the highly centralized system imposed by the military dictatorships that controlled Myanmar from 1962 to 2010, any discussion of federalism was impossible. The political transition under the 2008 Constitution created a centralized form of federalism, but even under the National League for Democracy government (2016-2021), the actual work and vision of Burmese government remained centralized. The 2021 coup fundamentally altered the political debate on federalism. There is a clear move away from the previous focus on ethnic-genealogical models of federalism, and towards a more inclusive civil-territorial model. The session will bring an update on how the question is now being framed given the demands of the anti-coup movement.
  • 1:15-2pm Lunch break– 4th floor- BACC
  • Post Covid-19 Recovery: Updates for Myanmar and the Mekong. [2pm – 3:30 pm]
    Moderator: Ngu Wah, Chiang Mai University, Faculty of Social Sciences / Knowledge Circle Foundation
    Recovery from the pandemic will be long and difficult for many countries in the region, especially Myanmar, which has to deal with COVID and the Coup. For Myanmar, the so-called “COUVID” effect will be discussed at this session, and compared with the policy responses in other parts of the Mekong (Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). This is part of the IDRC-funded project “The impact of COVID-19 on inclusive development and democratic governance: rapid and post-pandemic assessment in the Mekong subregion”, a consortium of think tanks to undertake research and facilitate policy dialogue and coordination among researchers, policymakers, private sector actors, civil society, and women’s organizations in the response and recovery phases.
  • 3:30-3:45pm Tea/Coffee break
  • Climate Change: Challenges and solutions for the Future of Myanmar.[3.45pm – 5pm]
    Moderator: Thompson Chau (Frontier Myanmar and Kivu International)
    No live streaming – event will be available to only those attending in person
    Myanmar remains one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world. All levels of governance, from local to national, have a critical role to play in tackling climate change and protecting the environment. This session will highlight new research on the impacts of conflict on the environment, discuss the challenges that Myanmar may face in establishing effective climate policies, and explore potential policy and governance solutions for the future.
  • “Burma Spring: Poetry & Photography in Resistance” [6pm – 7.30pm] [OPEN EVENT]
    This event presents 14 poets and 7 photographers from Myanmar and Rohingya ethnic group, in exile, imprisoned or killed by the army during the military coup in February 2021. Others are forced to hide their identity. Their works are testimonies of shock, anger and determination. The event will be marked with an artist talk on the occasion of International Women Human Rights Defenders Day on 29 November. See full description of this open evening event here.

DAY 6 – Wednesday 30th November.
Venue: BACC Room 4th Floor – SEA Junction. 10am – 8pm [BY INVITATION ONLY & PUBLIC]

  • Digital ResearchPart I Understanding the Digital Risk Environment in Myanmar. (SecDev Foundation) [10am – 11:30am]
    Moderator: Michael Gray (SecDev Foundation, Singapore)
    Leading digital rights and digital safety activists will outline the threats facing Myanmar citizens in the post-coup era.
  • 11:30-11:45 Tea break
  • Gender Equality, Democracy & Social Change: The Sustainable Role of Women before, and during Spring Revolution and Beyond [11:45am – 1:30pm]
    Moderator: Dr Khin Mar Mar, Senior Research fellow at University of Oxford and a Senior Research Associate at Regional Centre for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Chiang Mai University
    The Oxford Thanakha International Gender E-Tekkatho Series are quarterly dialogues to disseminate research-based knowledge for gender equality, democracy & peace. Initially set up as The Oxford Thanakha International, three days after the coup in support of women-led spring revolution in Myanmar, the series is one of the earliest knowledge-based dialogues to empower, educate, engage, and inspire women leaders and men to deconstruct patriarchal pedagogies, propaganda, and discourses. The Oxford-CMU Thanakha’s International Webinar series has already attracted more than 8 million viewers and continues working with prominent women, youth leaders and Board of Directors featuring prominent Burmese ladies from around the world.
  • 1:30-2pm Lunch break– 4th floor- BACC
  • Digital Research – Part II“Digital duty of care: can we undertake safe social research in Myanmar?” (SecDev Foundation) [2pm – 4pm]
    Moderator: Michael Gray (SecDev Foundation, Singapore)
    An open discussion on best practices to ensure the physical and digital safety of research stakeholders, particularly informants, in post-coup Myanmar.
  • 4 – 5pm Final Tea break (set-up for closing book launch)
  • Book Launch: Myanmar After the Coup: resistance, resilience & re-invention [5pm – 6:30pm]. [OPEN TO PUBLIC]
    Moderator: Dr Giuseppe Gabusi (Torino World Affairs Institute)
    In February 2021, Myanmar’s armed forces took power in a coup d’état. By re-instating military dominance, Myanmar’s generals ended a short period when they shared some power with the National League for Democracy (NLD). For now, Myanmar’s post-coup trajectory remains uncertain. One year after the coup (February 2022), the international conference organized by the Torino World Affairs Institute focused on the practicalities of understanding and engaging a deeply contested political reality. What are the perspectives of a return to the polls in the short-medium period? Which international actors can influence the course of events? To what extent has the coup impacted on Myanmar’s fragile economy? The e-book to be commented and launched in this session presents a collection of essays from economics to political perspectives about the coup and the long-term consequences for Myanmar.
  • Closing reception – Networking [6:30pm – 8pm]

DAY 7 – Thursday 1st December.

  • “Schools, Blood, Guns, & Bombs: Education in Myanmar’s Pro-Democracy Struggle” (Australian National University) [Dec 1 – 8-9:30am – OPEN ONLINE EVENT – register here for link Webinar Registration – Zoom]
  • 6th Regional Conference on Migration: “From old normal to new normal and back? Migration research and policy in the changing world[OPEN register on link below]
    Registration form 6th MMC Regional Conference (google.com)

    Panel Session (Dec 1, 10am-noon) “Gender, fisheries and migration” organized by Chair, Kyoko Kusakabe (Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) ) [Venue: Mahidol University’s Migration Center, Bangkok]
    Migrant workers are essential to sustain fisheries, especially in country like Thailand. However, issue of migrant workers in fisheries have been less discussed, especially studies from a gender perspective. This panel explores this less researched area on the intersection between fisheries, migration and gender. Our presenters are researching on migrant workers (both from Myanmar and from Cambodia) in Thailand. When we analyze the fisheries sector from a gender perspective, it encourages us to have a wider scope. We need to look at the value chain covering both capture fisheries as well as pre- and post-harvest activities, and we need to look at the community and its relations and not only the fishing activities on the boat. Such holistic views on fisheries will enable us to have a better understanding of migrant workers in this sector – their position, their identity, and their social network.
    • Carli Melo (York University)
      “Labour migration and global production in times of crises: The case of Myanmar migrant seafood processing workers in Thailand”
    • Eng Sokha (University of Massachusetts Boston and Asian Institute of Technology):
      “Network, exploitation, and resistance: The experience of Cambodian Migrants in Thailand”
    • Nang Lun Kham Synt (Asian Institute of Technology)
      “Consumption of dried fish of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand: How does it change from the place of origin?”
    • Si Thu Lin (Asian Institute of Technology):
      “Understanding the social well-being of women in the dried fish value chain: A study of Myanmar migrant women dried fish processor and traders in Samut Sakhon Province, Thailand”
  • Role of Foreign Aid in Myanmar. (Frontier Magazine and Kivu International) [BY INVITATION ONLY]
    [ 4:30pm – 6:30pm, Mercure Siam Bangkok & online ]
    Moderator: Frontier Myanmar & Kivu International
    Format: By invitation only, hybrid event (virtual panellists and participants)
    Frontier Myanmar, an award-winning independent media organisation, will host a panel discussion and Q&A on the key dilemmas and challenges facing donors and possible solutions. The session will bring together donors, international aid agencies and local voices to discuss what the current context means for international aid and what options donors have to continue providing effective humanitarian and development assistance. The session will operate under the Chatham House rule. Pre-register via event page https://fb.me/e/1Yif0wtqA

Friday 2nd December

  • Myanmar Interactive Dialogue. (Chiang Mai University)
    [3 – 5pm, Venue: RCSD, International Building, Chiang Mai University campus]
    Moderator: Kyaw Kyaw – Chiang Mai University
    Format: By invitation. Panel and open discussion (English and Burmese)
    This bi-monthly dialogue promotes exchanges of views among the diaspora community in Chiang Mai. Their aim is to create a common space for academic, practitioners, scholars working on Myanmar issues to reflect about the current situation in Myanmar. If interested, please contact kyaw.cmu@gmail.com

Saturday 3rd December

Sunday 4th December

  • Effective approaches to communicating and disseminating in a post-coup context. [CLOSED EVENT]
    CLOSED EVENT – Only by invitation from Organizer (Kivu International) [ Full day (3 sessions): 10 am to 5pm, Mercure Siam Bangkok, TBC]
    Funded by IDRC and FCDO, Kivu International is working directly with Burmese civil society to provide hands-on capacity building on research, policy and advocacy for small think tanks. This one-day training session will be the first face-to-face training opportunity of the programme, which will continue virtually thereafter. The training will focus on supporting civil society to adapt their influencing approaches to effectively communicate their research and ideas in the current context. Personal and organizational risks are high, and traditional state influencing models no longer apply. The training will work through suitable communication and disseminations strategies, taking a forwards-looking approach to Myanmar civil society’s policy and research contributions.
  • Photo exhibit continues to Sunday Dec 4

For further information about the agenda & attending events please contact: myanmar@idrc.ca


Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC)

Website: bacc.or.th
Address: 939 Rama 1 Road, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand


Events will be happening on 5th floor of BACC ( Hall Area, Room 501, Curved walls) and on 4th floor of BACC at SEA Junction


This event is organized by The Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar (K4DM) initiative of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in partnership with Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

Co-organized by Asia Research News and SEA Junction

For further information about these events please contact: myanmar@idrc.ca

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