Thursday, September 13, 2012

Burma?s Aung San Suu Kyi to get Congressional Gold Medal

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi gives a speech to supporters earlier this month. (Soe Zeya Tun/R??Pro-democracy icon and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, recently freed from two decades of house arrest in Myanmar, will travel to the United States later this month to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. She will also deliver a speech at the University of Louisville center named for Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell has long been a champion of democratic reforms in Suu Kyi's home country, officially known in Washington as Burma. She will receive the Congressional Gold Medal Sept. 19, accept the Atlantic Council Global Citizen Award in New York on the 21st, and speak at the McConnell Center Sept. 24.

The top Senate Republican, who invited her to speak, will be on hand at the center for her remarks.

McConnell backed President Barack Obama's decision early this year to restore diplomatic relations with Burma after that country's government recognized Suu Kyi's election to its parliament and embarked on political reforms. When the military regime had set aside her National League for Democracy's 1990 election victory, he took a lead role in crafting punishing economic sanctions meant to pry open the country's political system.

The senator recently visited Burma and had his first face-to-face meeting with Suu Kyi.

It will reportedly be her first visit to the U.S. since the 1980s.


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