AAUW: Dorothy Shaner Presents Talk April 4

AAUW News:

Dorothy Shaner will present, Burma/Myanmar: Nexus of a modern Silk Road or Battleground in a new “Great Game”? at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 2390 North Road in Los Alamos.  at 7:30 pm. Thursday, April 4.

The talk is open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

Shaner has lived in Los Alamos for 11 years and is a member of the American Association of University Women.

She claims no “expertise” on Burma, but offers background on the subject.

While raising children and getting her Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh, Shaner taught part time at several colleges.

She then taught international relations and organizations, American foreign policy and American politics full time at Chatham College, Pittsburgh.  

In 1985, Shaner accepted a fellowship that evolved into a new career in Washington, D.C., at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (State Department) and later at the Department of Energy.

The change took her to multilateral fora at the United Nations General Assembly, the 1987 Conference on Security Cooperation (CSCE) Review Conference and the Test Ban Preparatory Conference in Vienna, the 1990 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review and Biological Weapons Treaty Review Conferences in Geneva, NATO Disarmament Experts meetings in Brussels and bilateral meetings in Moscow, Canberra and Beijing.

Posted to Geneva for four years, Shaner was the DOE Member of the U.S Delegation to the UN’s single negotiating forum for disarmament, the 60-state Conference on Disarmament, which negotiated the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty – opened for signature, September 1996 at the United Nations.

She retired fully in 2004, after writing a classified account of the CTBT negotiations for DOE at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

About Shaner’s Talk:

Rudyard Kipling wrote, “[t]his is Burma, and it will be quite unlike any land you know about.” 

It has been true for centuries and is true today.

Burma/Myanmar’s topography is both forbidding and generous. The origins of its many ethnic groups are complex and confusing. 

Its religions (primarily Buddhism) coexist with “nats” and animism. Myanmar’s pagodas are mindboggling in number, beautiful when well-kept and fascinating when in ruins.

The name “Burma” evokes images of graceful women in flowing skirts, tropical climate, shaved monks and nuns in colorful robes, exotic-sounding Mandalay, teakwood, jade and other gems, the British Raj.

On the other hand, in the West the name “Myanmar” brings thoughts of military juntas, human rights abuses, poverty, slaughter and mismanagement. Everyone knows of “the lady,” Aung San Suu Kyi. A few will recall U Thant, the United Nations Secretary General, 1961-1971.

For decades, however, this nation has been isolated and opaque. Now it is opening up – to industry, trade, financial services, tourism, and baby steps toward representative democracy.

Why should we be interested in Burma/Myanmar? In addition to offering a fascinating place to visit, its geographic position is especially important in the 21st century.

This talk will touch on past and recent history, resources, trade, lack of political integration due to the circle of ethnic minorities, and Myanmar’s membership in the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) – important to the “new Asia.”

It will also address interests of the United States and of emerging great powers, India and China, in Myanmar’s highly strategic geographic placement.

Maps, photograph books and a computer slide show, will be available. The program will open with a brief description by Helena Whyte of AAUW’s Great Decisions discussion group, which this year includes Myanmar and Southeast Asia as one of its topics.



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