Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Aung San Suu Kyi

I found the Wallenberg lecture very interesting yesterday. Aung San Suu Kyi delivered a lecture that had been pre-recorded, and she gave a good background of what she had been through and the feelings she encountered along the way. Despite winning the popular vote in the 1990 election, she had already been placed under house arrest by the Burmese government for opposing the system in place. She served under house arrest for 15 of the last 20 years, and was just released last year. She stressed the importance of freedom and defined it as "freedom from fear", mainly fear of the government. During her time on house arrest, she still gained supporters and made efforts to educate the Burmese people about democratic processes. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

The real treat came after the lecture, when San Suu Kyi joined us via Skype from Burma for a question and answer session. As students posed pretty challenging questions to her, she was able to rattle off extremely intelligent answers right away with no problem. I was shocked by her eloquence and ability to address every single question. She mainly stressed the importance of non-violent movements, and garnering awareness about democracy in less developed countries like Burma. I'm glad I attended the lecture and gained insight into the issues that the Burmese people face today.

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