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Meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar, 7 November 2012

Treffen mit  Aung San Suu Kyi

Begum Inaara met with Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (MP), leader of the opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD) and the chairperson of Parliamentary Committee for Rule of Law.

The Begum Inaara welcomes Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the Royal Kumudra Hotel in Nay Pyi Daw, the new capital of Myanmar.

A personal meeting between the Begum Inaara and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi took place during a private dinner after a brief exchange in the presence of both delegations.
The Begum on Aung San Suu Kyi: “She has deeply impressed me—she is a strong personality and intelligent and embodies the new Myanmar with her warm-heartedness and grace.”

Treffen mit  Aung San Suu KyiTreffen mit  Aung San Suu Kyi
Treffen mit  Aung San Suu Kyi

Treffen mit  Aung San Suu Kyi

THE Begum Aga Khan MEETS


Two strong women

helping the children of Burma

Seeing eye to eye: the Begum Aga Khan (right) and Nobel Peace

Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi during a meeting in Myanmar

Photo: Princess Inaara Foundation

Naypyidaw – Two women unified by one goal: relieving the suffering of children in Myanmar, previously known as Burma.

The one is Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, who spent 15 years under house arrest while her homeland was under the rule of a military dictatorship.

She has been free since 2010, the leader of the opposition, fighter for freedom and democracy. Her big topic: education and health. “Without it,” says Suu Kyi, “democracy cannot work.”


The other is Begum Inaara Aga Khan, lawyer and founder of the “Princess Inaara Foundation.” The Princess of German decent has been supporting international aid projects for over 15 years. She has been working with “Ein Herz für Kinder” for two years now, fighting pneumonia there, which still kills more small children than any other illness.

These two are meeting for the first time in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw. BILD was there for this exclusive.

The Nation in South East Asia

Burma (also known as Myanmar or Burma) is a nation in South-East Asia with 54 million people.

To the north and east, it borders China, Laos, Thailand. To the south the Indian Ocean. The official language is Burmese, the most widely spread religion is Buddhism.

Life expectancy is 64.9 years (Germany 82.9 years).

Begum Aga Khan: This is my first visit to Myanmar; I have been supporting a large health care project here since 2010. It is a particular honor for me to get to know you personally—all the more so because you too care deeply about the education and health of children.

Aung San Suu Kyi: It is quite simple: to have a democracy that works, you need a self-conscious and healthy people. Just talking about democracy does not do anything, if the people are sick and hungry. They then have other worries.

Begum: I have been traveling through your home country now for a week, and I have seen a lot of turmoil and hope, but a lot of suffering and the bitterest of poverty as well. What is Myanmar’s biggest problem?

Suu Kyi: Above all, we need aid programs that strengthen our mothers and children. Recently, I traveled through the villages and saw that children are often well-nourished and healthy as long as they are still nursing. After that, they get sick because their parents cannot care for them in any sufficient or well-balanced manner. Beyond the large cities, the most basic of things are often what is missing.

Children waiting to be treated at a clinic in Rangoon.


Begum: The Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations provide for reducing child mortality rates around the globe by two-thirds through 2015. Myanmar still has a long way to go.

Suu Kyi: We are not a rich country, and we were suppressed for 50 years. We spent far too little on health care: just 1.76 percent of the budget at present. Our hospitals are in dire need. We must first see to it that we assure the most basic of health care. That is one of my main concerns.

Begum: Despite it all, one has the feeling that there is a lot of optimism all over Myanmar.

Suu Kyi: Myanmar has incredible potential. During the elections in 2011, there was a voter participation rate of more than 70%—and that with our infrastructure and a people who had no political education over the last 50 years …

Begum: Your country is opening up to the world at an incredible speed. Direct flights from Germany and around the world, increasing number of tourists, hotel prices are exploding …

Suu Kyi: I am certainly critical of the tempo this is all moving in. Whoever drives at neck-breaking speeds is living dangerously and quickly comes to a point of no return. We do not need to open up at any price, we need structured reforms. For the good of our children too.

Begum: We would be happy to supporting you here and wish you all the best from the bottom of our hearts.