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"From Dictatorship to Democracy? Myanmar's Uneasy Transition" A Conversation with Dr. Nuccio

  • January 15, 2020
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • National University, Sanford Center Auditorium 11355 N. Torrey Pines Rd La Jolla, CA 92037
  • 48


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San Diego World Affairs Council

warmly welcomes 

Dr. Richard A. Nuccio


"From Dictatorship to Democracy?

Myanmar’s Uneasy Transition"

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

6-8 p.m.

After nearly fifty years of military rule, Myanmar/Burma began a guided transition toward a more open economic and political system in the mid-2000s. Led by the country’s existing military leaders, the transition was based on a new constitution drafted by the military intended to maintain their influence and limit the power of the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi.  

Early signs that the military’s plans would go awry were a sweep by the NLD of the 2012 by-elections that led in turn to a nationwide victory in largely fair elections in 2015.

As in many countries under authoritarian rule, deep regional, national, ethnic and religious divisions in Myanmar were unleashed by the easing of political repression. Myanmar’s new democratically elected leaders have found themselves confronted by a continuation of decades-old civil wars and new insurgencies based on Buddhist/Muslim divisions long simmering beneath the surface.

  • How did international sanctions against Myanmar, some of the strictest in the world, encourage the 2010 guided transition in Myanmar?
  • How will relatively poor countries like Myanmar fare in the coming disorder of the disintegration of the post-WWII international order?
  • What is the future of liberal democratic systems in Asia?


About our Speaker: Dr. Richard A. Nuccio

Richard A. Nuccio is the Interim Program Manager of the UK’s Department of International Development (DfID) and European Union (EU)–funded Support Hluttaw Work for Effective Budget Oversight (SHWEBO) project to strengthen the oversight capacity of Myanmar’s legislative branch at the Union, state, and region levels. Previously, Dr. Nuccio served as the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) resident senior country director for Myanmar from March 2013 until June 2016. In this capacity, he developed NDI’s technical support program to Myanmar’s parliament (Hluttaw) and oversaw all NDI programming in Myanmar, including its efforts to support independent observation of the 2015 national elections. Before arriving in Myanmar, Dr. Nuccio served as NDI’s resident senior country director in South Sudan from 2011 until 2012. As country director, he oversaw the implementation of civic engagement program activities under a five-year, $61 million US Agency for International Development (USAID) grant and provided leadership to a team of nine international and 39 national staff.

Prior to joining NDI, Dr. Nuccio was the director of Civitas International programs at the Center for Civic Education based in Los Angeles, CA, where from 2003 he managed civic education programs and coordinated a network of civic educators in more than 70 countries. 

During the 1990s, Dr. Nuccio served in a number of senior foreign policy positions in the U.S. Government. From May 1995 until April 1996 he was special advisor to the President and to the Secretary of State for Cuba. Dr. Nuccio coordinated overall Cuba policy as well as outreach to the public. Before and after serving at the White House, he served at the State Department as senior policy adviser to two Assistant Secretaries of State for Inter-American Affairs. At the State Department, he had special responsibilities as the U.S. coordinator for the Guatemalan Peace Process and was awarded the Order of the Quetzal, Guatemala’s highest civilian honor, for his contributions to ending Guatemala’s decades long civil war. 

In the US Senate, Dr. Nuccio was the senior foreign policy adviser to Senator Robert G. Torricelli (Democrat-NJ) (1997). He also served as a professional staff member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (1991–1993).

From 2000–2003, Dr. Nuccio was the founding director of the Claiborne Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. Dr. Nuccio has taught international relations and comparative politics at major universities such as Williams College; Bennington College; the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University; and Georgetown University. He was a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center (1997–1998).

Wednesday, 15 January 2020


National University, Sanford Center Auditorium 1355 N. Torrey Pines Rd. La Jolla, CA 92037

Help us grow - bring a friend(s)!


Registration/Reception: 6:00-6:30 p.m.

Presentation, followed by a Q&A: 6:30-8:00 p.m.


SDWAC Members: Free  

Non-Members: $10  

Student with student ID: $5  

*Please note that the viewpoints expressed by speakers at SDWAC events are their own, and do not necessarily represent those of SDWAC. As a nonpartisan organization, SDWAC seeks to engage speakers who, together, represent a variety of viewpoints across the political spectrum in order to contribute to informed policy discussion and a meaningful exchange of ideas within the San Diego community. 

SDWAC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization - your donations support SDWAC's ability to provide top-notch international programming.

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