Suu Kyi: Future of Burma depends on education

Monday 01 June 2015

Video link to address http://www.britishcouncil.org/education/ihe/news/aung-san-suu-kyi-future-lies-education

Burma’s young people hold the key to their country taking its place in the world community, according to Burmese Nobel Peace laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi called for leaders of international higher education to support the education reforms in Burma, and help unlock the potential of Burma’s young people.

She was speaking via a video link to more than 1,200 leaders of higher education from 70 countries who are gathered in London for Going Global 2015, the British Council’s annual higher education conference.

“For many years during the days when it seemed that democracy was just a faint hope on the horizon, our hopes were kept alive by friends from abroad who made us understand that we had not been forgotten. This was what kept us all going, and now that we are in a position to take a more active part in building up the future of our own country, we want to equip our people in such a way that they will be able to make the best decisions. To me, that seems the most important part of education: to help people to make the best decisions. If our young people are taught to make the best possible decisions then we can say that education has succeeded in Burma” she said.

Burma had been “left behind because our education system was weak, because our political system was undemocratic and because our people were never given the chance to realise their potential” Suu Kyi said.

Ms Kyi thanked the British Council, and friendly nations around the world that stood by Burma during the political transition in her country and added that Burma had put its past behind it and was ready to work with the rest of the world in seizing the opportunities available in education to improve its future.

“Now that Burma is opening up to a certain extent, these can be changed. And these can be changed through the help of friends, like you, who are interested in what we are doing, in what we are, and what we have the potential to become. It is potential that I would like you to concentrate on. The past is the past and it cannot be changed. But the future is in our hands to shape as we wish it to be. And I would like our young people to have the right equipment, the right intellectual, mental and spiritual equipment to shape the country that they want to live in.” Suu Kyi said.

Notes to Editor

For More Information please contact Tim Sowula tim.sowula@britishcouncil.org 07771 718 135

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was speaking via video message leaders of international higher education who are attending the British Council’s ‘Going Global’ conference in London.

The conference, taking place at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre on June 1 and 2, has attracted more than 1,200 leaders of international higher education representing 70 countries and including 130 vice-chancellors, chief executive officers, Presidents and Vice-Presidents.

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