San Francisco: Nobel Peace Laureate and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was in San Francisco, where she received an honorary doctorate from the University of San Francisco during her landmark visit to the US.
Most of the nearly 5,000 seats at the university's War Memorial Gymnasium were filled yesterday morning as Suu Kyi was presented with the framed degree by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who represents a local district, and given a key to the city by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
Suu Kyi spoke to the crowd in English for several minutes before switching to Burmese. She also answered written questions from the audience.
In her speech, she urged factions in the Southeast Asian nation, also known as Burma, to consider what they have or haven't done to promote peace.
Suu Kyi's appearance at the University is part of her high-profile visit to the US that has included a private meeting with President Barack Obama and standing ovations at ceremonies in Washington and New York.
"USF is honoured to serve as the home for this event working in partnership with the San Francisco Bay Area Burmese community to shine a ray of light on Burma at this pivotal moment in its history," said USF President Stephen Privett.
Suu Kyi, 67, has been a key player in Myanmar's political transformation after a half-century of military rule. Until November of 2010 she had spent about 15 years under house arrest during the former military regime. Now she heads the main opposition group with 43 seats in parliament, which is dominated by allies of the former regime.
Still, her presence in parliament is a huge step toward democracy. She has also been named head of a 15-member parliamentary committee tasked with helping to implement rule of law in the country. Her party had boycotted the November 2010 elections but took part in by-elections in April.
First Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012, 10:23