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Local politics


Suu Kyi to speak Sept. 25 at Coliseum

Suu Kyi

Fort Wayne will be among five U.S. cities that Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will visit in the coming weeks.

The city’s Burmese community, among the nation’s largest, announced Tuesday that Suu Kyi will make a public appearance from 9 to 10:45 a.m. Sept. 25 at Memorial Coliseum.

Admission will be free.

“She chose us. All of us are very excited,” said Minn Myint Nan Tin, executive director of the Burmese Advocacy Center on Lake Avenue. “Everybody is involved.”

She said Suu Kyi, 67, will speak and take written questions from the Coliseum audience.

Randy Brown, general manager of the Coliseum, said IPFW plans to book the site for Suu Kyi’s appearance.

“She is a visiting dignitary. There will be some unique elements to this,” Brown said about preparations and security demands.

The Journal Gazette reported Aug. 14 that local Burmese were in talks with a representative of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner to schedule a Fort Wayne stop during her planned trip to America.

Nina Khin of Washington, D.C., who is helping organize the U.S. trip, confirmed Tuesday that Suu Kyi will travel to Fort Wayne.

Congress will give Suu Kyi its top honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, during her Washington visit.

Local Burmese activist Ven Kuthala said Burmese from throughout the Midwest will likely come to Fort Wayne to hear and see Suu Kyi. More than 3,800 Burmese live in Allen County.

“She wants to talk with the Burmese community here. She also wants to meet with the new generation, the children from the community,” Kuthala said.

The ruling military of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, freed Suu Kyi in 2010 after she had spent most of the previous 21 years under house arrest.

She since has been elected to a seat in the nation’s year-old parliament.

“The public speech is an opportunity for the citizens of Fort Wayne and the world to hear her inspiring message of democracy and liberty,” the local Burmese community said in a prepared statement.