In 1986, Northern Illinois University was selected by the Burma Studies Group of the Association for Asian Studies to be the national Center for Burma Studies.

At that time, the Burma Studies Foundation was created, which, as part of its mission, supports the Center for Burma Studies through the gathering of Burmese materials which are suitable for inclusion in the Burmese Collections at Northern Illinois University.

This interrelationship was developed to focus the scarce resources on Burma in an environment where they would receive appropriate care and could be readily utilized by those interested in the country of Burma/Myanmar and its development.

The Center enjoys a unique relationship with the Burma Studies Foundation, which assures that all Burma/Myanmar-related items donated to the foundation will be offered to the center for inclusion and conservation within the university's collections. The center accepts Burmese-related items only through the foundation, which retains a remainderman's interest in these collections, thus allowing for their continuing oversight. Ownership, except for this remainderman's interest, is with the university. The center operates under important conditions that include public display of art, access to materials and records, and administrative and also financial guarantees from Northern Illinois University. Oversight by the foundation combines strong support of the center with lasting responsibility to the field of Burma/Myanmar studies.


A major objective of the Center is to collect and preserve information and artifacts of all kinds concerning the study of the peoples and cultures of Burma/Myanmar, and to make these materials broadly available for research and study.


The Center for Burma Studies is a non-political, non-degree granting, administrative and academic unit within Northern Illinois University. The Center has the following goals:

  • The maintenance and expansion of a comprehensive research library to sustain the field of Burma studies
  • The collection, care, and exhibition of the arts of Burma
  • The support and promotion of undergraduate and graduate teaching concerning Burma
  • The organization and hosting of self-supporting national and international conferences on Burma studies
  • The publication of relevant scholarship on Burma
  • The care and enhancement of archival resources such as photographs, music records, oral histories, personal papers, and field notes
  • The promotion of outreach activities to schools and communities
  • Encouraging the performance of Burmese arts
  • The securing of educational opportunities through scholarships, internships, and fellowships

Featured Topics

Front cover of Journal of Burma Studies volume 25.2

Journal of Burma Studies 

Learn more about the journal and read abstracts and full-length articles of journal volumes.


Art of BurmaThe Art of Burma exhibit online

Find out more about Burmese Buddhism, Religious Knowledge and Practice and view the Burma Art gallery.

Contact Us

Center for Burma Studies
Pottenger House
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