Moe Ma Ma graduated from University of Mandalay with Ph.D. thesis entitled Myanmar’s Economic Response to Globalization with Special Reference to Agricultural Sector: Case Study- Rice. She teaches undergraduate and graduate students and supervises M.A. and Ph.D. thesis focused on Southeast Asia, Myanmar Foreign Policy and Myanmar’s Foreign Relations. Her ongoing research is The Role of ASEAN in Disaster Management.
Summary of Project:
Myanmar in ASEAN: contributing to greater integration or potentially fostering disintegration?
In becoming a member of ASEAN, Myanmar governments since 1997 – operating within an evolving hybrid political system - have had both to respond to the changing circumstances in the country’s regional strategic environment, as well as having had to reform Myanmar’s internal political system in order to comply with ASEAN norms. Most existing research has concentrated on ASEAN’s flexibility in applying its non-interference principle in dealing with Myanmar’s democratization process, for example, in the Association’s engagement with Naypidaw in order to allow humanitarian aid to flow into the country when Cyclone Nargis hit southern Myanmar in December 2008. However, these studies fail to explain how Myanmar leaders both evaluated and responded to the pressure from fellow ASEAN members. Why did they decide to reform the country’s internal political system in order to comply with ASEAN norms? Why did they decide to accept assistance from the Association in dealing with a number of internal crises? Our research, which will involve in depth interviews with state and non-state actors in Myanmar, will mainly focus on both domestic perceptions, as well as domestic responses to ASEAN’s role in this period of transition in the country. In addition our research will examine how successive governments in Myanmar (especially the USDP and NLD governments) have tried to promote a sense of ASEAN identity by participating in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).