Burma’s democracy movement leader Aung San Suu is the winner of the 2002 Al Neuharth “Free Spirit of the Year” award presented by a U.S. non-governmental organization Freedom Forum.
This was announced by Charles Overby, chairman and chief executive officer of the Virginia-based Freedom Forum at the National Press Club briefing Thursday in Washington.
Mr. Overby said he and Mr. Neuharth went to Burma and covertly presented the award to Aung San Suu Kyi. He did not give details on when and where.
In a video presentation in Rangoon, Mr. Neuharth told Aung San Suu Kyi that the Free Spirit Award was given “in recognition of the spirit that has carried you through all that you have done and because you’re such an inspiration to the young people of your country and of the world.”
Aung San Suu Kyi also described on video her recent trip to the Arakan State in western Burma where the local people in huge numbers welcomed her despite a stern warning by the authorities.
According to the Freedom Forum, the annual Free Spirit Award is given “to a person in the news who has stirred the public’s hearts and souls by demonstrating the human capacity to dream, dare and do.”
It carries a maximum cash amount of one million U.S. dollars. Aung San Suu Kyi is the first one to receive the full amount.