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Oxford awaits Suu Kyi to award her doctorate

April 29, 2012 18:14 IST

Aung Saan Suu Kyi's alma mater Oxford is abuzz with anticipation as it awaits the return of the democracy icon to receive a doctorate from the university that was announced way back in 1993, in what would be her first visit outside Myanmar in 24 years.

Suu Kyi, 66, indicated that she looked forward to visit "her beloved Oxford", in Prime Minister David Cameron's words, when he visited the country earlier this month.

She is likely to first travel to Norway, where she will collect her Nobel Peace Prize (announced in 1991) and then visit Britain. However, no dates have been finalised so far.

For her, visiting Oxford will be a "homecoming".

She studied in the ancient university town, lived with her academic husband Michael Aris and family there, and by all accounts, has fond memories of her time there. A university spokesperson told PTI, "We would be delighted to welcome her back to Oxford at any time. The university offered Aung San Suu Kyi an honourary doctorate in civil law

in 1993, an award which is yet to be conferred for obvious reasons. "We look forward to doing so as soon as she is able to visit Oxford". Suu Kyi's remark during Cameron's visit to Myanmar was significant.

When heĀ invited her to visit, saying it would be a sign of progress if she were able to leave and then return to carry out her duties as a newly-elected member of parliament, she replied, "Two years ago I would have said thank you for the invitation, but sorry. But now I am able to say perhaps, and that's great progress".

A National League for Democracy spokesperson said her visit to Britain would include Oxford, and added, "Her residence was in Oxford. Her family was there. Her husband

passed away in Oxford. She was educated at an Oxford college". Suu Kyi has not left Myanmar since she arrived there to visit her ailing mother in 1988.

It was feared that if she left Myanmar, she would not be allowed back in by the ruling junta.

She refused to leave the country even when her husband, Michael Aris, was dying in Britain in 1999. In 2011, Suu Kyi delivered the BBC Reith lecture, titled 'Securing Freedom', which was recorded in advance.

Prasun Sonwalkar IN London
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