Title

Development of Thailand-based Burmese democracy-building organizations and their role in transforming the conflict in Burma

Publication Date

1-1-2003

Degree Name

MA in Conflict Transformation

First Advisor

John Ungerleider

Abstract

Today, Burmese people, together with democracy-building organizations, are working to transform the system in Burma from dictatorship to democracy. Since 1988, they have tried to strengthen themselves and risked their security, lives, individual interests, and money for the rebirth of democracy and peace in Burma. Despite high costs, these organizations become weaker while the military rule continues in the country. The research paper explores the professional field-experiences of Burmese democracy forces, particularly Thai-based Burmese democracy-building organizations (TBDBOs), to find out obstacles facing these organizations and ways to overcome them. The paper also looks into the professional work experiences of these organizations to explore how they can seek to effectively and efficiently strengthen their role and participation in transforming conflict in Burma from destructive to constructive. The research was primarily based on extensive literature review and on interviews. The data collection process was also conducted and tested through interviews and discussions with key players of exiled ethnic and democratic organizations, various field-based evaluations, and through electronic questionnaires to professionals in the conflict transformation fields. Findings are summarized into data matrixes that can be grouped into broad categories. Integrating organizational and leadership theories and concepts, the paper concludes that development of the TBDBO requires understanding a neglected perspective on change, and that the TBDBOs need to address an organizational culture in a process that encourages systematic development and opens possibilities in which these organizations can achieve their potential as peace-building organizations. Finally, the paper proposes some recommendations that reinforce the TBDBOs in the field of conflict transformation and peace-building in Burma.

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