Aung San Suu Kyi Addresses Burmese Community in Indiana

Posted September 25th, 2012 at 4:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi addressed members of the Burmese population in the United States Tuesday, expressing optimism about Burma's transition to democracy.

Thousands of the democracy activist's supporters turned out to see her speak in the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana — home to one of the nation's largest Burmese communities and the fourth stop on her 17-day U.S. tour.

Before delivering most of her speech in Burmese, the 67-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate spoke in English, hailing the United States as the “greatest democracy in the world” and saying she is happy Burmese people have had on opportunity to learn from Americans.

“Coming here, our people have realized what democracy really means, and this is important for us, because in the road ahead, we need many people in our country who understand how to uphold the values and institutions of democracy. Our problems will not be exactly the same as the problems in the United States, but the important thing is to learn how to resolve problems, how to face them and how to find the right answers through discussion and debate, through negotiation and compromise.”

She said the greatest gift the United States has to give Burma is education.

During her appearance in Fort Wayne, the Burmese democracy leader also repeated her call for the lifting of U.S. sanctions against Burma. The U.S. has already eased some sanctions in response to the Burmese government's adoption of political and economic reforms.

Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to the U.S. is her first trip to the country since she was freed from house arrest in 2010 after spending more than 15 years in detention under Burma's former military rulers. She is now a member of the Burmese parliament.

Before heading to Fort Wayne, Aung San Suu Kyi made stops in New York and Louisville, Kentucky. She began her visit in Washington, where she held talks with President Barack Obama and received the Congressional Gold Medal.

Burmese President Thein Sein is also visiting the United States this week to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York.