New York: City-based think tank Atlantic Council has awarded the 2012 Global Citizen Award to Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who says she does not deserve any praise or compassion for her struggles since she willingly made the choice of putting her country back on the road to democracy.
Suu Kyi received the award yesterday from International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde. The honour comes just days after she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honour in the US, in a ceremony in Washington.
Accepting the award, Suu Kyi paid tribute to her "unknown colleagues" who stood by her and dedicated their lives to democracy and human rights.
Suu Kyi said she does not feel she has made any sacrifices as it was her decision to follow the path, which she though was right.
"It was not a sacrifice. It was a choice that I made. I decided to follow a path that I thought was right. And so really, I deserve no praise for it, nor do I really deserve compassion for any of the problems I might have met along the way because it was my choice," Suu Kyi said the event.
"I chose to walk that path willingly and I chose to continue along this path because I owe it to all of you and to the people of my country," she said.
Suu Kyi said the best way to repay those who have stood with Myanmar through the difficult times is to prove that "there can be a happy ending" to long struggles.
"We have yet to achieve that ending but we will move towards it with faith and daring and then we shall be able to say we have earned the title of global citizens."
Besides Suu Kyi, the Global Citizen award was presented to Nobel laureate Henry Kissinger, Japan's former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata and American musician-humanitarian Quincy Jones.
"By recognising these individuals with a Global Citizen Award, we were not simply looking to congratulate them, but also to amplify their achievements and inspire others to follow their path," Atlantic Council Chairman Senator Chuck Hagel said.
Suu Kyi was honored for her dedication to democracy and human rights, and her role as an international symbol of freedom.
The pro-democracy icon is on a 17-day visit to the US, her first to the country after she was released fom house arrest in 2010.
She met President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington and held discussions with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday at the UN headquarters, where she had worked nearly 40 years ago.
Her coast to coast tour of the US will take her to Indiana, Kentucky, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
First Published: Saturday, September 22, 2012, 15:52