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Local politics


Suu Kyi will speak Burmese in her visit

IPFW arranging translation

Suu Kyi

– Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will speak exclusively in her native language during her appearance in Fort Wayne, a sponsor’s spokesman said Tuesday.

“We got the news today that her presentation will be all in Burmese,” said George McClellan, vice chancellor for student affairs at IPFW. “We are working on getting closed captioning. We will figure it out.”

McClellan said Suu Kyi’s remarks will be translated from Burmese into English and displayed as text on a screen behind the stage at Memorial Coliseum.

The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner will speak at the Coliseum from 9 to 10:45 a.m. Sept. 25. Local Burmese activists, IPFW and the Coliseum are arranging Suu Kyi’s visit, which is part of her first U.S. trip since her 2010 release after two decades under house arrest in Myanmar, formerly called Burma.

More details on her local appearance, such as when the Coliseum will open its doors ahead of Suu Kyi’s speech, might be available after sponsors meet Thursday. McClellan said their plans already include:

•At least part, and perhaps all, of the temporary floor seating at the Coliseum will be reserved for invited guests, including Burmese activists.

•Off-floor arena seating will be general admission. No tickets will be required for the free event.

•The Coliseum will charge regular rates for event parking.

•Suu Kyi’s representatives have granted permission for her appearance to be televised. A broadcaster has not been selected.

McClellan said Allen County’s Burmese community, which numbers nearly 4,000, has been taking the lead in preparing for the visit by Suu Kyi, 67.

“They’ve got a Facebook group and are out pushing the word about the event,” McClellan said.

Suu Kyi’s U.S. trip begins next week and includes visits to New York, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles. She will receive the Congressional Gold Medal in the Capitol Rotunda, be honored at a White House dinner that former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton plan to attend and ring the bell to open trading at the New York Stock Exchange, according to a report by the Irrawaddy, a news organization that covers Burma and Southeast Asia.