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Suu Kyi to deliver Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Trust Lecture this year
During his historic visit to Myanmar, Manmohan Singh handed over the invitation for Jawaharlal..

THE JAWAHARLAL Nehru Memorial Trust Lectures have been taking place since 1966 and the topics range from Nehru’s impact on the development of his country, to entrepreneurship and the media in modern India. The speakers include prominent Indian and British politicians, artists and business people, as well as HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan, Professor Linda Colley and Aung San Suu Kyi – the icon of democratic ideals of Myanmar who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 .

The 66-year-old Suu Kyi was also the Nehru Memorial Prize winner for International Understanding in 1992. Now she will deliver the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Lecture in 2012. The invitation for the lecture from Sonia Gandhi was handed over to her by no other person, but the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself. Suu Kyi had a 45 minute-long meeting with Singh at Hotel Sedona at Yangon.

The last such VIP visitor was the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi when Suu Kyi was yet to join politics. It was long back in 1987. Suu Kyi joined the student movement which was brutally suppressed by Military junta in 1988. She joined politics and in the struggle for democracy in Myanmar and the rest is history. Today the ever smiling Suu Kyi is the icon of democratic movement in Myanmar.

She has accepted the invitation for the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial lecture. India has a long standing association with her. Accepting in principle the invite, Suu Kyi said: "I hope I will be able to take up the invitation not before too long.” India and Burma have been friends not only because of geographical proximity but also because of shared values, heritage and fight for independence, Suu Kyi recalled the close association she and her parents had with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his family. At that time, she had been in New Delhi where she studied in Convent of Jesus and Mary School and Lady Sriram College in early1960. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh paid high compliments to her saying that her struggle and her determination has inspired millions of people all over the world.

Suu Kyi was “gratified” to receive the invitation to deliver the lecture. She is travelling to Britain and Norway in June. She stressed the need for underlining the fact that the “democratic ideals “could contribute to peace and stability. During the 45 minitue talk with the Prime minier, she focused on the friendship of the two countries. “I am very happy at the prospect of closer ties with India because I think we have much to learn from each other and we have much to contribute to peace and stability in this region,” she said.

She arrived at the hotel in an ordinary car, with barely any security for the meeting. In his statement, Dr Singh said India was “proud of our long-standing association” with her and her parents. It is hoped that Suu Kyi will play a defining role. In the process of National Reconciliation, which has been launched by President Thein Sein, the struggle for India's independence continued simultaneously as the struggle for Burma's independence. The meeting with Suu Kyi took place on the last day of the Prime Minister’s historic visit and Dr. Manmohan Singh handed over the invitation for the the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial lecture which is held annually in November.

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