Suu Kyi Prepares for Award-packed US Tour

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, right, receives the gift of a dried rose from Czech Foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, right, receives the gift of a dried rose from Czech Foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

WASHINGTON DC—Aung San Suu Kyi will receive the Congressional Gold Medal—the highest civilian award of the US Congress—at the Capitol on Sept. 19 amongst many other honors during next week’s historic tour of the United States.

“Aung San Suu Kyi will be honored for her leadership and steadfast commitment to human rights and for promoting freedom, peace and democracy in her home country of Burma,” said the House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) leader’s historic award was approved by the US Congress and then signed into law on May 6, 2008. Last month, a House Resolution approved the use of the Capitol Rotunda for the ceremony.

Representing Congress’s highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions, the Gold Medal ceremony will be held by the bipartisan leadership of the Congress—John Boehner, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

On her first visit to the US after being released from house arrest, Suu Kyi has reportedly been invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to stay at the White House where a dinner in her honor will be attended by former US Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton as well as Microsoft chief Bill Gates.

Suu Kyi is also expected to ring the bell that starts the day’s trading at the New York Stock Exchange and address the United Nations General Assembly in the city, according to sources close to her party. The 67-year-old previously worked for the UN in New York after graduating from Oxford University in 1969.

She is also due to receive several other awards and scheduled to address several public and think-tank meetings, including one organized by the Asia Society and US Institute of Peace in Washington on Sept. 18.

On that occasion, the Asia Society will present her with its Global Vision Award. Two days later, Suu Kyi will give a speech when the National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) 2012 Democracy Award is bestowed upon five of her compatriots.

Min Ko Naing, a key leader of both the 1988 student movement and the 2007 Saffron Revolution; Hkun Htun Oo, chairman of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy; Kyaw Thu, a prominent film director and actor-turned-activist who heads one of the country’s most important civil society organizations, the Free Funeral Service Society; Dr. Cynthia Maung, an ethnic Karen doctor; and Aung Din, a leader of the 1988 student movement and co-founder and executive director of the US Campaign for Burma, are set to be honored.

“Aung San Suu Kyi is the iconic leader of this movement, but beside her are many unsung heroes, brave people who have risked everything to advance their shared goal of a democratic Burma. With this award, we honor them all,” said NED President Carl Gershman.

On Sept. 21, in New York, the Nobel Laureate is due to receive the Global Citizen Awards from the Atlantic Council—the prestigious American think-tank.

The Atlantic Council said Suu Kyi would be honored for her unwavering devotion to democracy and human rights, serving as an international symbol of freedom and dignity.

“Despite spending much of the last two decades under house arrest, she played a historic role in the recent Burmese elections, marking an important triumph that continues to inspire people across the globe,” the council said. The 2011 Global Citizen winner Christine Lagarde will present this year’s award.

Meanwhile, the Burmese community living in Canada has expressed hope that Suu Kyi would be able to make a stopover to coincide with her US trip. “In my opinion, it would be very important for her to consider a visit to Canada since she will be in North America for the first time in 25 years. I don’t expect she can make another trip in the foreseeable future,” said Tin Maung Htoo, executive director of the Canadian Friends of Burma.

According to Tin Maung Htoo, Suu Kyi’s late husband usually visited Canada to meet family members on holiday each December. His last visit was apparently two months before he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“In one of her messages sent to Canada, Daw Suu said she has a special place in her heart for Canada. Maybe she might be indicating the family connection that her late husband had. Her mother-in-law is French-Canadian and married to a British man who eventually migrated to Canada and became a Canadian diplomat,” added Tin Maung Htoo.

11 Responses to Suu Kyi Prepares for Award-packed US Tour

  1. America may be a lot of things but a beacon of democracy and land of the free it ain’t. Seems their compass is broken and they are adrift.

  2. George Than Setkyar Heine

    No doubt Daw Suu’s going to get a chest load of medals like Audie Murphy, the most decorated (US and Allied) soldier in the last Great War.
    Well, like the American soldier turned actor after the war, our Daw Suu has sacrificed and suffered a great deal for Burma’s democracy , freedom and human rights as well, in the hands of Than Shwe and his thugs running the country today wearing civilian attires in place of uniforms since the last two decades.
    Singing hyms in praise and pinning medals on people deserving of credit and accolade only would not serve the matter – restore freedom, democracy and human rights in Burma – much less improve the lot in that military dominated pseudo-civilian ruling body (not government) run country.
    The US led ALLIES were victorious in the Last Great War because they fought and crushed the Nazis with all determination and might as well.
    However, for the record and information the US has a long history of abandoning its allies (of course not its citizens and soldiers in battles and crises) in the middle of conflicts.
    Korea was split at the 38th parallel until today because Truman chickened out when Mao Tse Tong called his hand during the Korean War. Gen. MacArthur was sacrificed/sacked in the deal when the brave and foresighted soldier tried to clear/rid the world of Chinese communists plague/threat forever; today the Chinese communists are on their way to world hegemony while the US is reeling under the burden of Chinese debt and joblessness at home today.
    Another case in point is the US abandoning South Vietnam when China backed Vietcong (North Vietnamese forces) overran Saigon on April 30, 1975 after more than 50,000 US soldiers were killed. Vietnam campaign/war was lost because the US fought with one hand tied behind the back I say.
    Today, Iraq is still struggling to cope with the Islamic militants when the US forces withdrew out of the country before things were in place and for the better of the people in Iraq.
    Of course Afghanistan is a lost cause as well with the TALIBAN holding sway in the country because US led allied forces are again fighting with one hand tied behind the back as well.
    Syria’s Assad is killing tens of thousands of people and EU, UK and US are CLUELESS over the matter as even the UN/UNSC is powerless to do anything other than sending envoys and fact finding missions in vain for that matter not to mention shamelessly as well issuing a statement to the fact even, in lieu of China and Russia using VETO POWER and STANDING TALL behind the Syrian dictator today.
    Hence, in this view and scenario I have GRAVE QUALMS over Daw Suu’s fate and future and Burma’s as well SPECIFICALLY – like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and least of all late Gen. Douglas MacArthur – in case this time and after giving medals and awards as well OBAMA TURNS TAIL and ABANDONS our beloved and charismatic LEADER today confronting the lot at Naypyidaw still headed (incognito) by Than Shwe in turn backed by the Chinese communists and Russia under Putin a former KGB officer who has the audacity to change even his country’s constitution in his interest, hang onto power until eternity and against the will of the people by brute force as well.
    As long as the US led west is CLUELESS and INDECISIVE (aimless, lack of sense of security, policy bankrupt etc.) the UN would be a PAPER TIGER and the world at large would be AT THE MERCY of the communists in Beijing and Putin run Russia if not the Islamic terrorists wreaking havoc in the so-called FREE WORLD today.

  3. Great. Awards to Daw Aung San Su Kyi of Myanmar- by the Government of The United States of America and its people, the Americans signify to all of us Burmese people, that the Myanmar people and Nation has been given due recognition and respect for its relentless struggle for Democracy, Freedom, Human Rights and World Peace. Myanmar has been given the opportunity now to be part of the family of Nations of Peace, harmony and Progress. May Daw Su be able to carry out her visions for a Peaceful and Prosperous Myanmar. We as Myanmar- Burmese compatriots will act on, what is to be done, to the best of our capabilities and competencies. Daw Su a tet shay, pyee kyan mar shwin lan bar zaye. With Metta and Solidarity. Myo Nyunt, Perth, Western Australia.

  4. all this just to again remain quiet on the most important issue in myanmar: the brutal military offense of the government against the kachin.


  5. ASSK should not forget at all times that the U.S’s Burma policy has been and still is bipartisan; that she should not be carried away by the glamorous reception at the White House to heap all the praise on the Obama Administration. She should express her thanks appropriately to the Obama administration as well as to the previous adminstrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush for their support to the people of Burma in their darkest moments in their history. There are also some senators and congressmen who are the true friends of Burma. I am sure ASSK knows better.

  6. Can Saw Suu stop in Dallas/Ft Worth area where about seven thousand sons and daughters of the Union of Myanmar live? We want to see and meet her too.

  7. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    The present of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in the international community will boast solidarity among the supporters of Burma democracy movement, a very effective grass root and a driving force for the last 24 years.

    Canada should not be left out of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s itinerary for its unwavering support for democracy movement in Burma with its toughest economic sanction against Burma, and Canadian honorary citizenship, which has only been given to five: Aung San Suu Kyi, Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, The Aga Khan, and Raoul Wallenberg.

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

  8. The Kachins cannot participate in this celebration as we are being crushed politically, militarily by both Burma and Chinese governments.

    The US troops walked off after the WWII never looked back to their comrades-in-arms in northern Burma although without the Kachins they might never have returned home!

    It is a disgrace for an aclaimed champion of human rights and Member of Parliment Daw Aung Suu Kyi ignoring and neglecting the fellow founding members of the Union’s humanitarian diaster.

  9. As a friend of the Badford Burmese Rohingya Community in UK and at this time producing mini documentaries of experiences of the Rohingya’s within Burma and Bangladesh Concentration Camps. That Base Amoral Hypocritical Shamm Aung San Suu Kyi best keep well away from Bradford West Yorkshire. And the British Government we hope will set a standard of morality for all Countries to follow and refuse her any personal favour or honour until she stands up for the rightful citizens of Burma (Myranmar)the Rohingya Muslims. Aung San Suu Kyi the miltary Junta with its puppet civil Gov is playing you and you do not see it. THERE IS BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS!

  10. What has she actually accomplished? Many good changes over the past year, but not because of her. She should be praised for willing to compromise but that’s really about it. Her sanctions have left the country worse off. And many others have “sacrificed” to try to help the country. Her way failed and unless we really,acknowledge that we are not really going to understand the road ahead.

  11. here you go, THE world class hypocrite from Burma is to go collect her countless awards without shame. Only hypocrites praise this Burmese Nobel hypocrite’s silence over the Burmese regime’s appalling human rights violations. Indeed, not all of her western supporters are hypocrites.
    Here is her latest usual political rhetoric to Penn State college communities; If we think we are civilized human beings, if we claim to be civilized or dignified human beings, we must all stand up for the women and children all over the world who have been misused or suppressed, shamelessly coming straight from her mouth, but which is muzzled by her own uncompromising stance for future votes—for which conscience is no longer a relevant thing– from the racist mass to speak out for countless women victims of rape, torture, forced labour, and various forms of human rights violations by Burmese army over the last 60 plus years, not to say sufferings of Kachin refugees, Rohingyas and other ethnic victims because talking about them would put her political career into inconceivable jeopardy. Enjoy your awards with your usual hypocritical speech!

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