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Suu Kyi to Meet Burmese Youths


Some 500 youths from across Burma who are involved in social and humanitarian work say
they are eager to meet with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her party's second
youth conference next week as she takes further steps to widen her party's network.

“Many youths from different states and divisions, including ethnic youngsters, have
contacted the National League for Democracy [NLD], and asked to meet with her, so we
planned this conference,” said Ohn Kyaing, an NLD official, speaking to The Irrawaddy on

The meeting will be held at the NLD headquarters in Rangoon. Due to space restrictions,
some 250 youths will join the first day's session while the rest will attend the following day.

Participants at the first youth conference at the NLD headquarters in Rangoon.(Photo: The
Irrawaddy) “The meeting will focus on social work,” said Ohn Kyaing. “Many youths from
different ethnic areas will participate, and at least 80 members from the National Youth
Network will join the meeting,” said Myo Yan Naung Thein, the leader of a team
coordinating the network's activities.

A wide cross-section of socially engaged young people—from political parties, civil society
organizations and groups representing ethnic minorities—have formed the National Youth
Network. It has connected with the 66 Civil Society Organization and continues to grow with
each passing day, members said.

“I am able to join in the NLD meeting because of this network,” said Saw Nu Aung from Pa-
an Township in Karen State. “If I have the chance, I will ask Suu Kyi about her views on
national reconciliation, and equality for ethnic minorities.”

In late December, Suu Kyi held the first youth conference; most of the young attendees
were from Rangoon, and were involved in social and humanitarian work. After the meeting,
many of the participants have begun sharing information and contacting each other by
email and telephone, members say.

During the meeting in December, Suu Kyi responded to more than 50 questions raised by
the youngsters.

“We all like and respect her,” said Myo Oo from Irrawaddy Division. “But she cannot do
everything for us. We must take responsibility for ourselves. If she discusses social work
issues, it will be a big encouragement for us.”

“Now we have a chance to say what we want, because she [Suu Kyi] will listen,” said an
ethnic Pa-O teenager from Taunggyi in Shan State who asked to remain anonymous. “Most
people don’t want to listen.”

Suu Hlaing, from Shwe Bo in Sagaing Division, said she will talk to Suu Kyi about the
hardships in villages across Burma.

“I think she will help in any way she can,” said Suu Hlaing.

Soon after she was released from house arrest in November, Suu Kyi said she wanted to
learn from the young people in Burma and hear their perspectives.