Michael Montesano is visiting research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. His experience in Southeast Asia dates back three decades to his service as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. A specialist on economic and political change in Southeast Asia, he has undertaken research and written widely on Thailand for more than twenty years. He has travelled to Myanmar regularly since 2007 and conducted policy research on the Myanmar economy since 2010. A frequent speaker on contemporary Southeast Asian affairs, Montesano has co-edited five books on the region and contributed to a range of regional and international newspapers and journals.
He was educated at Yale University, the University of the Philippines at Los Banos, and Cornell University, where he earned a doctorate in modern Southeast Asian history. He is an independent director of the Singapore-listed First Ship Lease Trust. He speaks Thai.