Megan Ryan is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the University of Michigan and was a 2020 United States Institute of Peace Scholar. She studies authoritarianism, identity politics, and how social media shapes contentious politics in Southeast Asia. Her dissertation uses the case of Myanmar to understand authoritarian resilience, focusing on the construction of national identity, civil society cooptation, and the use of new information technologies. She previously worked on U.S. foreign policy on Myanmar at the U.S. Department of State on the Myanmar Desk and in the Bureau of Conflict Stabilization Operations. Prior to her government service, she received a master’s degree in Southeast Asian Studies from the University of Michigan and wrote her thesis on post-conflict elections in Aceh, Indonesia.
Van Tran researches authoritarian politics, social movements, and digital cultures in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Myanmar. She is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies and Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. She completed her Ph.D. at the Department of Government, Cornell University with a dissertation examining the resilience of public activism under repression and also worked with civil society organizations in Myanmar to deliver policy recommendations on local governance, digital literacy, and online disinformation. Her recent analysis and commentaries on Burmese politics appeared on The Washington Post, Brookings Institution, Al Jazeera, and AP.