Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Global Vision Award at the Asia Society Awards Dinner earlier this evening at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. Unable to leave Burma, Daw Aung accepted the award via a recorded video message, which you can watch below.
Other awardees includes included former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead and Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang, who received the Cultural Achievement Award. Both Hwang and Whitehead were on hand at the black-tie event, which was also attended by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Check Asia Blog on Thursday for video footage and photos from the awards dinner.
Please find the transcript from Daw Aung's message below, followed by her video acceptance speech.
It was with some surprise and great pleasure that I learned that I had been presented with the Global Vision Award of the Asia Society. My contacts with the Asia Society go back many decades.
When I was in New York, working at the United Nations secretariat, I would occasionally attend functions of the Asia Society. And there I would meet citizens of the United States who had visited or worked in Burma, and who had remained friends of Burma, attached to us by warm ties of mutual understanding and respect.
Now that Burma is on the verge of a breakthrough to democracy — we have not yet made the breakthrough; we are on the verge of making such a breakthrough — we look to friends like you to help us along this difficult path, which might be full of difficulties, but which we shall be able to negotiate with your help, and the help of other friends like you.
I look forward to a time when Burma will expand the borders of its democratization, and when we will be able to have frequent and meaningful exchanges with friends in other parts of the world. At such a time I'm sure that the contact between Burma and the Asia Society will become stronger and more mutually beneficial.
I'm sorry I cannot be here together with you today, but I'm sure you will make this occasion the kind of warm and friendly evening that has always been a trademark of Asia Society meetings. And I look forward to the time when I can come to New York, come to the Asia Society, and thank you personally for what you have done to support Burma and to support our movement for democracy. And last but not least, to thank you for the Global Vision Award.