In Burma, if one were to mention "the election" on the street this morning, the listener would likely not conjure up concern for the productivity and potential of Obama's final two years holding office, but rather of the possibility of Aung San Suu Kyi holding it and being able to create durable and sustainable reconciliation in a divided nation.
We should recognize that Myanmar is now a different country. There is a different government, and it is one that we can work with. Our approach must be different, too.
Though the priority of Obama's trip is to attend the regional summit, other pressing issues of bilateral ties between the United States and Myanmar are expected to be discussed.
President Obama is about to go to Myanmar for the second time in two years - #BIGDEAL alert! - but, after a recent visit to Myanmar's brand spanking new capital, Nay Pyi Taw, I was wondering: Will anyone actually be there to greet him when he gets there?
The question is whether President Obama can advance his foreign policy aims -- expanding trade, increasing military cooperation, keeping China at bay -- and honor the rest of that 2009 inaugural address?
When President Obama and other world leaders arrive here in Burma, they need to press the government on a slew of human rights issues, ranging from constitutional issues to the Rohingya crisis. But they also need to raise the issue of human rights abuses in the context of Burma's armed conflicts.
A few years ago, when I was overcome with despair about the situation of my country, I thought about those who were in worse shape with regards to the lack of freedoms. Two nations invariably came to mind: North Korea and Burma.
Human rights are for all, and Burma's freedoms have been long fought for both inside the country and internationally that sought to increase freedoms and not to merely switch roles in a game of oppression. Let us move forward for human rights for all and to realizing the dream of the UDHR.
The democratization process in Burma remains very much a work-in-progress, with parliamentary elections slated for next year and the country continuing to adjust to the growing pains associated with opening its economy to the rest of the world.
I don't easily stand in awe of anyone, but Aung San Suu Kyi has walked through the darkness. She is one of those gems illuminating the true definition of what "normal" should be.
Inquisitions to current day intolerant extremists, life and resources are wasted with perverted extravagance. Difference and deviance have become the most frequently employed rationale to persecute, punish and kill.
A distinctive group of 18 visitors at the George W. Bush Presidential Center this month were not the usual tourists in shorts and jogging shoes hoping to get their photo taken in the replica of the Oval Office.
Without real and continuing steps towards resolving problems and the will to stay the course for human rights and civil liberties, the country will become darker than ever.
There is very little "free" about the market in Rangoon.
To the international community, Myanmar is seen as a simple dichotomy: "the Junta and the Lady." In reality, the country is an constantly overlapping array of powerful institutions. All of them want simultaneously to make dramatic reforms and at the same time to maintain the status quo.
Her message to us was firm. She said yes, do focus on the opportunities afforded by reform, asking the investors in our group to focus on the provision of critically needed jobs for young people, and to address the problems that trap so much of the population in poverty, poor education, and ill health. But she also said not to ignore the remaining challenges.