Bono will present Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi with Amnesty International’s highest honor when she visits Dublin next month as part of her first international tour in 24 years, the U2 singer and other organizers of an Irish tribute concert announced Wednesday.
Suu Kyi is scheduled to visit Dublin on June 18, a day after collecting her Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel in 1991, and Amnesty’s Ambassador of Conscience award in 2009. She was unable to claim either award in person until now because she was under house arrest for 15 of the past 24 years and, even when free, afraid to leave Myanmar in case the country’s military junta barred her return.
Bono devoted a series of U2’s 2009 concerts to Suu Kyi, demanding her release from house arrest, and unveiled the Amnesty award at one Dublin concert that year. He said the June 18 event would be the first time he’s ever met the 66-year-old pro-democracy activist.
“It’s so rare to see grace trump military might, and when it happens we should make the most joyful noise we can,” Bono said in a prepared statement. “Aung San Suu Kyi’s grace and courage have tilted a wobbly world further in the direction of democracy. We all feel we know her, but it will be such a thrill to meet her in person.”
Suu Kyi was elected to Parliament in Myanmar, also known as Burma, last month; took her seat May 2; and launched an international tour Tuesday starting in neighboring Thailand. She’s also scheduled to address both houses of the British Parliament during her European tour next month.
She is expected to visit Dublin solely to be guest of honor at the concert, called Electric Burma.
Bill Shipsey, an Amnesty official organizing the concert, said others taking part would be actress Vanessa Redgrave, the Riverdance troupe, and folk-rock singer Damien Rice.
Bob Geldof, like Bono an Irish rocker-turned-humanitarian, also will be involved in the concert. Geldof praised Suu Kyi as a “heroine of dignity, integrity, courage and steely moral vigor (who) lost her freedom and her family in order to gain a nation. Ireland is ennobled by her visit.”