Aung San Suu Kyi to be awarded honorary degree

Aung San Suu Kyi, Chairman of the Burmese National League for Democracy and member of the Burmese parliament, is to receive an honorary doctorate in civil law at Encaenia on Wednesday 20 June 2012, during her first trip to Europe since 1988.

Daw Suu, who spent much of the period from 1989 until 2010 in some form of detention as a result of her campaign to bring democracy to Burma, was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Oxford in April 1993 but has, until now, been unable to receive it in person.

Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: 'We are delighted that Daw Suu is finally able to return to the University and are looking forward greatly to what will be a very special occasion.'

Encaenia is the University’s annual ceremony at which honorary degrees are conferred on distinguished men and women and benefactors are commemorated. The other honorands, whose names were announced earlier this year, will be Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, former Director General of the Security Service; David Cornwell (aka John le Carré), author; Professor Drew Faust, President and Lincoln Professor of History, Harvard University; Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman of Sony Corporation; Professor Charles Taylor, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, McGill University; Dr Henry Barnett, former President and Scientific Director of the Robarts Research Institute; and Professor William Phillips, physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland and Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute.

Daw Suu read PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) at St Hugh's College from 1964 to 1967. After graduating, she worked in New York and Bhutan, before settling in Oxford with her husband, the Tibet scholar Michael Aris. Her return to Burma in 1988 to care for her ailing mother coincided with a period of growing discontent with the military government. Fearing her influence, the military placed her under house arrest in July 1989.

She remained under house arrest or in prison for most of the subsequent twenty years, during which time she received many awards including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and an honorary degree from the University of Oxford in 1993, neither of which she was able to accept in person.

She was finally released from house arrest in November 2010. In April this year the NLD won 43 out of the 44 seats it contested in a by-election and Daw Suu was elected to parliament to represent the constituency of Kawhmu.

She is an honorary fellow of St Hugh's College, Oxford and of St Antony's College, Oxford, and patron of the International Gender Studies Centre at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.