Suu Kyi to Receive US Congressional Award

By The Associated Press 19 July 2012

WASHINGTON—Congress will present Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi its highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Officials said the ceremony is scheduled to take place Sept. 19 during Suu Kyi’s visit to the United States.

Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace laureate and former political prisoner who was unable to leave her home country for more than two decades.

The opposition parliament leader recently was greeted enthusiastically during trips to Thailand and Europe.

In addition to the congressional award, Suu Kyi will be presented with the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Award on Sept. 21 in New York.

The State Department said Suu Kyi would be invited for meetings with US government officials during her visit.

Suu Kyi, elected in April, will be feted for her long struggle against military rule in her homeland and for championing democracy. She is revered by Republicans and Democrats, has been a guiding force in US policy toward Burma, officially known as Myanmar, over the past two decades, and has been supportive of the Obama administration’s engagement of the reformist President Thein Sein.

The US recently suspended investment sanctions that had been in force against Burma for 15 years. Suu Kyi cautiously supported that move, but it did expose a rare difference between her views and those of the US government. The US decided to allow US companies to invest with Burma’s state oil and gas enterprise. Suu Kyi has opposed foreign companies working with that enterprise because of its lack of openness.