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Suu Kyi to pick up highest US award

When Suu Kyi travels to the US in September, she will be presented the country’s highest award, the Congressional Gold Medal, officials announced on Wednesday.

Aung San Suu Kyi delivers her Nobel Prize speech during a ceremony at Oslo's City Hall on June 16, 2012. Photo: AFP
Aung San Suu Kyi delivers her Nobel Prize speech during a ceremony at Oslo's City Hall on June 16, 2012.  Photo: AFP 
Observers said such a ceremony was likely to include President Barrack Obama and top lawmakers, or perhaps take place during a joint session of the US Congress.

The US’s top honor was bestowed by the US Congress in 2008, when Suu Kyi was under house arrest.

During the trip, the exact dates are not yet known, she will also receive the Atlantic Council’s “Global Citizen” award, which is also being presented to former diplomat Henry Kissinger, Japan's Sadako Ogata, a former UN high commissioner for refugees, and Quincy Jones, a composer and musician. She is scheduled to receive the award in New York City on Sept. 21.

The trip, following Suu Kyi’s five-country tour of Europe in June, will mark her first return to the US since she worked in New York City at the UN from 1969 to 1971. Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in November 2010, and earlier this year was elected to the Burmese Parliament.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited Suu Kyi to Washington when the top US diplomat paid a landmark visit to Burma in December. Since then, the US has suspended investment sanctions against Burma and US companies are poised to invest in the country’s oil and gas fields and other businesses.

A delegation of top US business leaders and economic officials travelled to Burma last week to meet with officials and talk business deals. General Electric was the first US company to strike a deal that involved medical equipment, and said it is ready to do deals in producing electrical energy, health care and other areas.

Suu Kyi remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the past 21 years, becoming one of the world's most prominent political prisoners. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

In April 2012, her opposition party, the National League for Democracy, won 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the Lower House.

Suu Kyi, 67, is the third child and only daughter of Aung San, considered to be the father of modern-day Burma.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:35 )  

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