Trevor Wilson

Trevor Wilson retired in August 2003 after more than thirty-six years as a member of the Australian foreign service, the last fifteen as a member of the Senior Executive Service, after serving as Australian Ambassador to Myanmar (2000-03). Since October 2003 he has been a Visiting Fellow on Myanmar/Burma at the Department of Political and Social Change, School of International, Political and Strategic Studies, The Australian National University.

Since 2004, Trevor Wilson has been co-convener of the Myanmar/Burma Update conference series at ANU. He has (co)-edited four volumes of the conference papers, Myanmar’s Long Road to National Reconciliation (ISEAS 2006); and, with Monique Skidmore, Myanmar: the state, community and the environment (Asia Pacific Press, 2007); and Dictatorship, disorder and decline in Myanmar (ANU Press, 2008); and with Monique Skidmore and Nick Cheesman, Ruling Myanmar From Cyclone Nargis to National Elections (ISEAS 2010) based on the 2009 Myanmar/Burma Update. With David Kinley, he co-authored a case study of Australia’s human rights training in Myanmar ‘Engaging a pariah: Human rights training in Burma/Myanmar’ (Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 29 No. 2, May 2007). He has written numerous opinion pieces and given many interviews about the situation in Myanmar/Burma.

Eyewitness to Early Reform in Myanmar »

Authored by: Trevor Wilson
Publication date: March 2016
By 2000, a ruthless military regime had ruled Myanmar for more than a decade, polarising opinion inside and outside Burma/Myanmar — with Western countries locked into non-UN sanctions and Asian countries and the rest of the world locked into unenthusiastic cooperation with Myanmar. While the United Nations and its agencies faced numerous obstacles as they sought to encourage national reconciliation in Myanmar, conditions in Myanmar were slowly starting to change. With a reform faction in charge, the military regime itself after 1999 slowly began experimenting with modest changes, before committing in 2008 to transfer power via a constitutional referendum and national elections, both of which it effectively controlled. This book provides the first eyewitness account of the early reform experiments.

Dictatorship, Disorder and Decline in Myanmar »

Publication date: December 2008
Mass peaceful protests in Myanmar/Burma in 2007 drew the world’s attention to the ongoing problems faced by this country and its oppressed people. In this publication, experts from around the world analyse the reasons for these recent political upheavals, explain how the country’s economy, education and health sectors are in perceptible decline, and identify the underlying authoritarian pressures that characterise Myanmar/Burma’s military regime.

Steady Hands Needed »

Reflections on the role of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia 1979-1999

Edited by: Trevor Wilson, Graham Cooke
Publication date: August 2008
In this monograph, five former secretaries of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) reflect on their experiences and the challenges of their times. A far cry from the pukka fantasies of ‘Yes Minister’, their recollections reveal the realpolitik of the policy front line where the secretary must stay ahead of emerging themes and issues in Australia’s international relations while simultaneously exercising governance oversight and providing leadership to a large, professional, diverse and dispersed organisation. From the Cold War to the War on Terror; from the floating of the dollar to GATT and the WTO; managing relations big and small, within our region and without; through relentless administrative reforms, technological change and changes of government; steering DFAT requires ‘steady hands’. This collection of public lectures presented in 2006 to the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) offers an invaluable resource for those with an interest in recent Australian history, foreign policy and public sector administration.

Myanmar »

The state, community and the environment

Publication date: October 2007
Despite deteriorating economic and developmental conditions, worsening environmental problems, and troubles arising from the unresolved status of its ethnic minorities, Myanmar seems no closer to a political resolution. Myanmar’s economy continues to stagnate, with severe implications for its people. Low levels of international assistance have exacerbated the situation. Myanmar—the state, community and the environment examines the missed opportunities by government and opposition groups to find a way out of the political impasse and improve the standard of living of the people of Myanmar. This collection provides insights into the country’s economic development, in particular the vital rice-marketing sector and the attempts to expand existing industrial zones. It focuses, for the first time, on Myanmar’s environmental governance with in-depth case studies, and on the increasing need for effective environmental protection and sustainability.