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Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Chairman of the National League for Democracy, Burma, and member of the Burmese parliament
Quid multa? Hodie enim agmen honorandorum ducit femina cuius apud nos praesentia verbis facundius loquitur. Tubis pompa plausu eam honestamus; quae magnificentia nihil valeret nisi signum esset spei atque admirationis in pectoribus nostris funditus conditae. Hoc igitur ei dicimus: ‘Necesse est ut in conspectu permultorum huc regrediaris; at non obliviscimur te simul ad antiquos lares et ad urbem memoriae plenam redire. Hic studuisti, hic amicos paravisti, hic iuventutis gaudia cognovisti, hic uxor et mater vitam umbratilem egisti donec amor patriae ardorque libertatis vindicandae domum te vocaverunt; sed coniugem filiolosque dilectissimos relinquere cogebaris, ita ut reditus ad locum natalem in exsilium quoddam converteretur. Multos per annos solitudinem vix tolerabilem sustulisti, patientiam atque fortitudinem paene incredibilem praebuisti. Maxima nunc laetitia te rursus Oxoniae versatam salutamus; tuo in animo qui affectus misceantur, nescimus, nec decet amplius exquirere. Hoc tamen adfirmamus: silentium tuum clarius strepitu forensi et armorum clangore sonuit; in tenebris tantis parvula tua lucerna orbem terrarum illuminavit; tranquillitas tua mundum commovit. Intellegimus igitur nos in hoc theatro sedentes simul velut in theatro cunctarum gentium fabulam spectare cuius finis adhuc maneat incertus. Quare in praesenti exspectamus speramus oramus.’
Praesento stellam orientalem, fulgidum magni populi lumen, Aung San Suu Kyi, Collegii Sancti Hugonis alumnam, Collegiorum Sancti Hugonis et Sancti Antoni et sociam honoris causa adscriptam, Praemio Nobeliano nobilitatam, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Iure Civili.
There is little need of words; for today the line of honorands is led by one whose presence among us speaks more eloquently than any language. We honour her with trumpets, procession and applause, but all this magnificence would mean nothing were it not the outward expression of the hope and admiration deep within us. This we say to her: ‘Of necessity, your return here is a public event, observed by many eyes, but we do not forget that you are also coming back to your old home and to a city full of memories. Here you studied and formed friendships, here you knew the delights of youth, here as a wife and mother you lived a quiet domestic life, until your love of country and passion for the cause of freedom summoned you back; but you were forced to leave behind a beloved husband and children, so that your return to your native land was made into a kind of exile. For many years you bore the burden of isolation, displaying patience and endurance to a degree not easily imagined. We hail you with joy as you appear in Oxford once more; as for yourself, we do not know what mixture of emotions you feel, and it would be impertinent to intrude on them. But this we declare: your silence has sounded louder than the jabber of politics and the clang of military power; out of deep darkness your little lamp has shone across the planet; your stillness has moved the world. Sitting in this theatre, we are conscious that we are also spectators of a drama played in the theatre of the nations, one whose ending is as yet unsure. And so for now we wait and hope and pray.’
I present a star shining in the east, the light of her countrymen, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, graduate of St Hugh’s College, honorary fellow of St Hugh’s and St Antony’s Colleges, Nobel Laureate, to be admitted to the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law.
Admission by the Chancellor
Libertatis propugnatrix invicta, quae exemplum fortitudinis tuis civibus totique orbi terrarum praebuisti, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Iure Civili honoris causa.
Unbowed champion of liberty, who have given your people and the whole world an example of courage and endurance, I on my own authority and that of the whole University admit you to the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law.