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No Asian more deserving, observers say of Myanmar President Thein Sein

Published on Dec 15, 2012 6:00 AM
Myanmar President Thein Sein addresses the 67th United Nations (UN) General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York on Sept 27, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Professor Kishore Mahbubani (right), dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore

"Aung San Suu Kyi deserves all the accolades she has received. But she could not have transformed Myanmar alone.

"The military also had to cooperate. Virtually no one in the West thought this was possible.

"Fortunately, from out of nowhere, a remarkably wise individual called Thein Sein emerged. He achieved the impossible: He persuaded the Myanmar military to compromise and he persuaded Aung San Suu Kyi that they could work together.

"The world is gradually waking up to Thein Sein's remarkable successes.

"Foreign Policy magazine has named Thein Sein No.1 in its list of Top 100 Global Thinkers for 2012. The International Crisis Group will present Thein Sein with its top honour, the In Pursuit of Peace Award. Thein Sein truly deserves all these awards, especially the Asian of the Year Award by The Straits Times. There could not be a more deserving recipient."

Thant Myint-U (right), historian and author

"The historic changes taking place in Myanmar today are the result of the hard work and sacrifice of many people, but it is impossible to imagine that they would have taken place at all without the courage and leadership of President Thein Sein.

The naming of Thein Sein as the inaugural Asian of the Year is a recognition that his reforms may well have far-reaching consequences, not only transforming Myanmar but, in the process, changing the future of all Asia."

Professor David Steinberg, Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies at Georgetown University

"I think that this year, President Thein Sein has more positively shaped the governance landscape in Myanmar than any other single individual has done in any country in Asia. He has been overshadowed, and deserves the recognition that has generally been denied him."

Barry Desker (right), dean of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

"Thein Sein has changed the global image of Myanmar from a pariah to a state now widely accepted in the world. His policy changes have been courageous as there

continues to be resistance to change from those who have been beneficiaries of the old regime."