Derek Mitchell will give the UofL Center for Asian Democracy’s inaugural lecture on Asian democracy, “Reform in the ‘Golden Land’: U.S. Policy and Perspectives on Change in Burma,” at 7 p.m. in the PNC Club, Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, 2800 S. Floyd St. The free, public talk will conclude with an 8 p.m. reception. Guests should enter through Gate 2-A for parking.
Since its 2010 elections, the new government in Burma has embarked on a reform process that has seen opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Sun Kyi freed from house arrest, a historic ceasefire ending the country’s longest running ethnic conflict and the release of hundreds of prominent political activists and dissidents. Those actions prompted Hillary Clinton’s December visit, the first by a U.S. secretary of state in more than 50 years, and this month the first visit by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
“The recent events in Burma are unprecedented and have taken everyone by surprise. Having Ambassador Mitchell give us a firsthand view of history in the making is an extraordinary privilege for the University of Louisville,” said Jason Abbott, director of the Center for Asian Democracy.
Mitchell previously oversaw the Defense Department’s security policy in Northeast, Southeast, South and Central Asia as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs from April 2009 to August 2011. He was special assistant for Asian and Pacific affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1997 to 2001.
Mitchell also served as senior fellow and director of the Asia international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based bipartisan nonprofit organization. He is co-author of “China: The Balance Sheet – What the World Needs to Know about the Emerging Superpower” and “China’s Rise: Challenges and Opportunities.”