FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – National League for Democracy Party leader and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi delivered a speech to thousands at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Tuesday morning.
Suu Kyi, who called the United States the greatest democracy in the world, said Myanmar, as it is referred to now, has made some strides towards progress, but also said there is still a long road to travel. Suu Kyi said improvements must be measurable.
“You must not just look at the surface of things. In the end, real progress must be reflected in the improvements in the lives of ordinary people. So that is what you have to study. What improvements have been made in the lives of ordinary people?"
When speaking of her own political career, stalled by 15 years of house arrest, Suu Kyi said she was not driven to politics. Instead, she said she chose politics and believes everyone has a responsibility to participate in democracy. Suu Kyi said her ability to create change is defined by her ability to serve and her love of service.
"Service is a beautiful word. People do not really understand what it means to serve, and how much joy and satisfaction you can get out of it. This is something that you acquire through experience and also through education."
Education was also a major focus of Suu Kyi’s speech. She called on elders in the community to teach American born Burmese how to write and speak the language and urged Burmese guests to take pride in their culture, heritage and language. Suu Kyi said education is not only about what can be discovered in books but also though life experiences. She commented that in order for real progress to continue for their home country, Burmese around the world, especially here in Fort Wayne where the numbers are so great, must band together to take advantage of educational opportunities.
"I’m very grateful for the education that has been offered to our people here, and I hope that more opportunities will be made available to all of our people who are now in Fort Wayne. The greatest gift you have to give us is education. With education, our people will be able to forge ahead and meet the challenges that lie along the way. This is what education is all about."
And as for addressing one of the greatest concerns for Burmese in the Fort Wayne community, whether they might one day be able to visit or return to their homeland, Suu Kyi said she would continue her promise to the make the reforms necessary for each family to see the land they left years ago.
You can read the transcript of Suu Kyi's speech below.
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