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"The Mission is Not Accomplished": David Williams on the Future of Burma

US Public Radio Series

America Abroad is an award-winning documentary radio program distributed by Public Radio International (PRI) and broadcast on public radio stations nationwide. Each month, we take an in-depth look at one critical issue in international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.

The case of Burma provides a unique glimpse into the challenges of moving from a military dictatorship to a more open society. To get insight into this process, we reached out to David Williams, the Executive Director of The Center for Constitutional Democracy at Indiana University, who has spent years working with ethnic minorities in Burma.

This fall, Burma is scheduled to hold a historic presidential election. But with ongoing persecution of ethnic minorities and many other human rights issues, many wonder if the nation is ready for true reform.

Every year, 15 million girls are forced into marriage, many of them before they turn 15. It's a practice that happens across cultures and across religions, resulting in poverty, health issues, and a lack of education for girls worldwide.

The Middle East today is more unstable than ever. The war in Syria has created a tremendous humanitarian crisis, with more than three million refugees having fled to neighboring countries, and the rise of ISIS has destabilized Iraq and Syria and threatens other countries in the region. 

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