Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is keen for ties between Myanmar, Hong Kong and the mainland to grow closer.
Suu Kyi told a visiting educational delegation on Tuesday that she would love to visit Hong Kong and meet the city’s students.
“Whenever I meet young people, I feel myself back in the days when I was just like them,” she said.
“It inspires me and gladdens my heart to know that the process of youth never comes to an end. It is like spring coming again each year and reminding us that we don’t need to despair of humanity, because there is something ingrained in humanity that makes it possible for us to renew hope all the time.”
The University of Hong Kong delegation, led by Vice-Chancellor Professor Lap-Chee Tsui, met Suu Kyi at her Rose Cottage home in Naypyidaw, the country’s capital, as part of their trip to foster academic ties and other collaborative links with Myanmar. They took the opportunity to present her with an honorary degree and two honorary university posts.
The degree was conferred upon Suu Kyi in absentia at the University’s 186th Congregation in March this year, in recognition of her commitment to non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights. She was also appointed Honorary Professor in the HKU Faculty of Social Sciences as well as the first Honorary Adviser of the HKU Service 100 global service-learning programme.”
This is an acknowledgement not of me personally, but of what we have been trying to achieve in Burma,” Suu Kyi said.
“Throughout the past two and a half decades, we have been greatly strengthened and helped by those who believe, as we do, that human rights should be the foundation of every civilised society and that democracy of all the imperfect institutions of this world is still the best possible for those who believe in both freedom and security.”
In her new capacity as honorary professor and adviser of HKU, Suu Kyi said she was looking forward to making use of the university’s research and academic endeavours to empower young people in Myanmar, especially students at Yangon University.
“What we are trying to do really is to revive campus life for all the students of Burma,” she said. “Campus life was destroyed during the years of military rule because the authorities believed that if you get undergraduates together they make trouble. Of course they make trouble, but it’s the right kind of trouble. And we have to teach them how to make trouble in the right way again.”
The HKU delegation also met with the Minister of Education and other ministry members, students and colleagues from various universities and higher education institutions and donated close to 5,700 books to Yangon University.