Steering committee

The Steering Committee members provide overall strategic guidance to the Myanmar Research Network, as well as managing day-to-day activities of the network such as collaborative research endeavours, engagement, events, and so on.


Dr. Michael G Breen

Michael’s research focuses on federalism in Asia, and the management of ethnic diversity. He is the author of ‘The Road to Federalism in Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka: Finding the Middle Ground’ (2018, Routledge) and has contributed to Nepal’s constitution-making process that established it as a federal democratic republic. Michael’s research also explores the role of deliberative democracy and the use of deliberative polling in constitution-making and conflict management. Prior to academia, Michael was a policy maker, negotiator and project manager in various government departments in Australia and international organisations including the United Nations Development Programme. His professional background is in Indigenous rights and native title, political inclusion and environmental conservation.


School of Social and Political Sciences | McKenzie Research Fellow

Federalism and Ethnic Politics in Asia – Deliberative Democracy – Comparative Politics – Constitutional Design


Dr. Anne D├ęcobert

Anne D├ęcobert is a development studies scholar and anthropologist whose research focuses broadly on the intersections between conflict, development, aid systems, processes of state formation, and the rights of and struggles for self-determination of Indigenous and marginalised peoples. Strongly committed to ethically engaged research, Anne is particularly interested in approaches to addressing inequities and injustices faced by Indigenous and marginalised communities whose lives are shaped by structural violence and conflict. Myanmar is her main country specialisation, but Anne has also worked elsewhere in Asia and with Indigenous communities in Australia. In addition to her academic research, Anne previously worked as a development practitioner and consultant with local and international aid agencies in Myanmar, Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Anne’s publications include The Politics of Aid to Burma: A Humanitarian Struggle on the Thai-Burmese Border (Routledge, 2016).

Research Coordinator

School of Social and Political Sciences | Anthropology and Development Studies | Lecturer

Development – International Humanitarian Law


Dr. Tamas Wells

Tamas Wells is a Research Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences. His research focuses on meanings of democracy, governance and accountability in Southeast Asia and the role of international aid agencies and “civil society. His doctoral dissertation examined the Burmese opposition movement in the lead up to the historic 2015 elections in Myanmar and diverging narratives of democracy within the movement, and amongst its international supporters. Before beginning his doctoral studies in 2012, he worked as an aid and development adviser and consultant with various NGOs including Save the Children and Oxfam, including seven years living and working in Myanmar. Tamas has been active in developing stronger connections between academics and practitioners and policymakers in the field of aid and development and is the editor of the PK Forum, an online discussion forum on aid and development in Myanmar.

Editor of PK Forum

School of Social and Political Sciences | Research Fellow

Democracy in Myanmar – Civil Society – Politics of International Aid


The Myanmar Research Network community brings together academics, practitioners and students who are working on and/or interested in Myanmar. Meet some of our members!


Dr. Aung Zaw Zaw Phyo

Dr. Aung Zaw Zaw Phyo is a Ph.D. scholar at the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Australia. He has a background in epidemiology and dentistry. He completed his Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at Mahidol University, Thailand in 2013; and his MSc in Epidemiology (with Distinction) at the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2017.  His research work has been published in international peer-reviewed journals and his unique research findings were also presented at international conferences. Dr. Aung is also an invited reviewer for peer-reviewed journals. He is a frequently invited speaker for monitoring and evaluation, systematic review and research methodology for knowledge sharing and internal training in Myanmar. He has previously worked as a research coordinator/manager/consultant of the public health research sector in Myanmar and Thailand.

Monash University | Doctoral Scholar

Neuro-Epidemiology – Oral Epidemiology – Geriatric Epidemiology – Mental Health – Cognitive Impairment & Dementia – Health-related Quality of Life


Bethia Burgress

Bethia Burgress is interested in trans-sectoral collaborations for social change that challenge Eurocentric and colonial structures. Her work aims to build long-term engagements and solidarities across geographic borders, combining with indigenous, subaltern, and decolonial theories to challenge dominant and unilinear narratives. Her PhD explores contested conceptions of sovereignty, justice and belonging in Eastern Myanmar. She also undertakes value-aligned consulting and freelance projects, including those that enable public engagement and prioritise the expertise of those with lived experience. She was born on Gunai Country, raised on the lands of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation, and currently live and work on Kulin Nations lands. These are the sovereign lands of First Nations people, the occupation of which continues at the expense of Indigenous futures. Her ongoing work aims to meaningfully contribute to dismantling colonial structures and supporting Indigenous and community-led systems of governance and justice in their varied manifestations.

University of Melbourne | PhD Candidate

Research for Social Change – Coloniality of Justice – Identity and Subalternity – Community-led development in Southeast Asia

Mr. Christopher Lamb

Mr. Christopher Lamb worked with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia for 32 years. He had two postings in Burma/Myanmar. He was Australia’s Ambassador from 1986 until 1989. He also worked with the Red Cross in Geneva from 2000-2010 on humanitarian diplomacy.

Australia Myanmar Institute | President

Myanmar Politics – Development – Social & Cultural Issues – Human rights – Sustainable Development Goals


Htet Yamone Aung

Born and raised in Mandalay, Myanmar, Htet Yamone Aung @ Mary studied at Paung Daw Oo Monastic Education High school where she also worked as a volunteer staff/teacher. With a passion for youth capacity building, Mary participated in youth leadership programs and travelled around the world which enabled her to widen her horizons with unique experiences. Because of her achievements and her dedication to further her study abroad, she was awarded “Dean’s Award” from the University of Melbourne. She is now studying for her bachelor’s degree, majoring in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, minoring in Environmental Studies, and taking a concurrent diploma in Chinese Language Studies. Mary has been working as a freelance Burmese tutor, interpreter, and translator since early 2018. She is graduating in July 2021. She wishes to contribute to back to her community afterwards.

University of Melbourne | Undergraduate Burmese Interpreter &Translator

Development Studies – Environmental Studies – Burmese Language – Education – Youth Capacity Building


Prof. Joseph Lo Bianco

Professor Emeritus Joseph (Joe) Lo Bianco was appointed chair of language and literacy education at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne in February 2004 and retired on 30 June 2020, when he was appointed Professor Emeritus. He is a specialist in minority language rights, literacy and social opportunity, language policy and planning with a specific interest in conflict mitigation in multi-ethnic societies and a specific focus on educational equity for immigrant and Indigenous populations, multilingual and anti-racist education and language revitalisation. His academic analysis and theorisation of language problems in education and society is complemented by extensive real-world policy writing, advising and engagement in 25 international locations. In recent years this has included a 8 year project in Southeast Asia for UNICEF under the title of Language, Education and Social Cohesion, focusing on conflict resolution in multiethnic settings in Malaysia, Myanmar and South Thailand and as consultant to a four year project on Multilingual Cities in 12 European municipalities responding to recent inflows of immigrants. In 1987, he authored Australia’s first national language policy, between 1990 and 2002 was Director of Language Australia/The National Languages and Literacy Institute of Australia.

MGSE University of Melbourne | Language and Literacy Education

Peace & Conflict Studies – Multilingualism & Education – Education & Literacy – Indigeneity & Ethnic Relations – Cultural Diversity – Language Rights


Nyein Aye Soe

Nyein Aye Soe graduated with Bachelor of Science, majoring in Human Nutrition (1st Batch) in 2020 from the University of Melbourne and will began master of Dietetics at Monash University in 2021. She is enthusiastic in conducting research projects. Her aim is to become a researcher in nutrition. She was born and raised in Mandalay, Myanmar. Throughout her studies, she took part in different organisation and student clubs. The most recent one was ASEAN Youth Advocates where she inspired the youth in Myanmar.

University of Melbourne | Bachelor of Science Class of 2020

Dietetics Studies – Human Nutrition – Exercise Nutrition – Public Health – Nutrition – Quality of Life


Pan Ei Ei Kyaw

Pan Ei Ei Kyaw graduated Bachelor of Agricultural Science in 2006 and Master of Agricultural Science in 2012 from Yezin Agricultural University (YAU), Myanmar. While in YAU, she earned awards for her academic performance. Those awards are Minister’s outstanding students, Mitsubishi scholarship and Myanma Awba scholarship. Since 2008, she has been working as a teaching staff in YAU, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. As a teaching staff for more than ten years, she enjoys teaching, conducting research, training and extension. Also, she uses her skills and knowledge to contribute to agricultural human resource and development of the society. She believes that she can further improve her quality and skills. Thus, she becomes a PhD student in the Soils and the Environment research group at the University of Melbourne by receiving John Allwright Fellowship from Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). For leadership skills, she attends the 2nd cohort John Allwright Fellowship executive leadership (JAFel) program at the University of New England, Armidale.

University of Melbourne | PhD Candidate

Soil Science – Plant Nutrition – Organic Amendments


Soe Soe Htway

Soe Soe Htway is a PhD student under School of Geography in the University of Melbourne since June 2018. Her PhD research examines the impacts of foreign investment in farmland on rural livelihoods of Myanmar, the broader implications for rural development. She gained her master’s degree majoring in Natural Resources Management from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) of Thailand in 2013 and her master’s thesis was “Assessment of Farmers’ Coping Strategies for Water Scarcity Under Rainfed Agriculture in the Dry Zone of Myanmar”. She received a bachelor’s degree from Yezin Agricultural University (YAU) of Myanmar in 2005. She worked as a researcher for a project, “Livelihoods and Extension Services among Smallholder Farmers of Myanmar” funded by ACIAR in AIT (2014 – 2017). She also worked as a tutor in YAU (2008 – 2011).

University of Melbourne | PhD Candidate

Farmland – Rural Livelihoods – Investment – Climate Change Adaptation – Rural Development