Suu Kyi wins global women’s award

Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will follow in the footsteps of international dignitaries such as Hillary Clinton and Melinda Gates next week when she is honoured with the prestigious Global Trailblazer Award.

The honour comes as part of the Global Leadership Awards given annually by the US-based women’s empowerment group, Vital Voices.

The 65-year-old Nobel laureate will also be named Voice of the Decade when she receives the award from Clinton, who was last year’s winner, at a ceremony in Washington on 12 April.

Suu Kyi of course will not be present at the ceremony – the Burmese government, which released her from house arrest in November last year, has said she is free to leave the country, but the chances of her being allowed to return are slim.

Vital Voices says that potential honourees include “social entrepreneurs, political representatives, businesswomen, human rights defenders and civil society advocate.

“From remote villages and wired cities, they promote equality, peace and prosperity as innovators who transcend barriers to move whole communities forward.”

The democracy icon is no stranger to awards, having been honoured with the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990, and the Nobel Peace Prize the following year. The Indian government has also honoured her with the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, and Venezuela with the International Simón Bolívar Prize.

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