State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was presented the 2016 humanitarian award by Harvard University on 17 September.
As she received the award before a large crowd in Harvard University Science Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the 71-year old leader urged people to go out into the world and prove for themselves that hatred — any hatred – is rooted in fear.
“I believe that fear is at the root of all division, because fear leads to hatred, and hatred leads to division,” she said, reiterating that there is a “vein of goodness” in everyone, and mining it will help us overcome fear.
“I look upon this prize not as a reward for what I have done, but as a happy omen for what we are trying to achieve in the future,” she said as she accepted her award that consisted a gold medal on a red plaque. “In my country, there is still a long way to go before I can say that our people are both free and secure.”
Dr S Allen Counter, the Harvard Foundation’s director, presented the award to the state counsellor. After the ceremony, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met a gathering of several of Harvard’s most gifted students. Later that evening, a dinner was hosted in her honour.
The Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award is presented annually by the Harvard Foundation to individuals who have helped improved lives and inspired others. Past recipients include former UN chief Kofi Annan, singer Lionel Richie for his support for charity and fellow Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by Taliban insurgents for speaking out about female education.
Earlier in the day, the State Counsellor met members of the Myanmar community and ethnic representatives at the office of the permanent representative of Myanmar to the United Nations in New York.
At the get-together, the state counsellor explained to them the government’s commitment to promotion of education, health, peace and national reconciliation.
The elders of the Myanmar community in New York gave suggestions on improved healthcare and the expansion of the entry visa, to which the state counsellor responded. On September 21, the state counsellor will address the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York. The address to the society will take place on the sidelines of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly. — Myanmar News Agency