Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese human rights champion and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, will finally be able to deliver her traditional Nobel Lecture in Oslo on Saturday June 16, 21 years after her Peace Prize was awarded.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who was alternately held under arrest or house arrest for more than two decades by her country’s military regime after she’d won national elections, has said for years that Norway would be the destination of her first foreign trip. She won the Rafto Prize for her human rights advocacy in Bergen in 1990 and then the Nobel Peace Prize the year after, but even when she was formally allowed to leave the country, she didn’t dare to do so, fearing she’d never be allowed to return.
Instead, her sons accepted the prizes on her behalf and her older son, Alexander Aris, gave a moving speech of his own on December 10, 1991 when he, his brother and their late father accepted her Nobel gold medal, diploma and prize money in her absence. Aris said at the time (external link) that he knew she would have begun her own speech by saying that she accepted the Nobel Prize for Peace not in her own name but in the name of the people of Burma, believing it belongs “to all those men, women and children who continue to sacrifice their well-being, their freedom and their lives in pursuit of a democratic Burma.”
Now, 21 years later, the military regime that has ruled Burma for decades has taken steps towards democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer persona non grata and even has won election to the national assembly of the country now known as Myanmar.
Arriving June 15
So she has decided to travel to Norway, with Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reporting that she’s due to arrive in Oslo on Friday June 15. The day after she will take part in a new, if shortened, Nobel Peace Prize ceremony inside the Oslo City Hall, where the prize is always awarded, and deliver her own acceptance speech.
Details of her visit and the ceremony remained sketchy but NRK reported that Amnesty International will arrange a summertime version of the traditional torchlight parade in December that always hails Nobel Peace Prize winners outside the Grand Hotel where winners stay.
NRK also reported that Aung San Suu Kyi will likely have meetings with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre during her visit.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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