Comments as transcribed and distributed by WFWA-39:
U Tun Oo, Welcoming Committee Chairman:
Good day. I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude for this opportunity to address you on behalf of the Welcoming Committee.
I also thank our highly motivated and enthusiastic audience (that has) come to this historic meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Burmese communities here in attendance unequivocally and strongly support you and will unwaveringly continue to support you in the days to come.
I would like to extend my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Burmese community. The communities have worked tirelessly to organize this event, the mayor of Fort Wayne and last but not least a special thanks to the (IPFW) chancellor, vice chancellors, faculty and staff and other sponsors for their generous support and assistance.
We believe that our unequivocal support will contribute to the reform and change towards democracy in Myanmar naming again or Burma.
We unequivocally and strongly support you and we will unwaveringly continue to support you in the days to come.
So Aung San Suu Kyi, you have bravely, persistently and perseveringly endeavored to bring about peace, prosperity, human rights and freedom for all peoples of Burma and have stood before us as a courageous, admirable and exemplary leader. All of us wish you and pray for your well-being and good health.
I humbly request that you speak to the audience who are longing to hear your voice and words respectfully. Thank you for all your good wishes.
May they all come true.
Speech by Aung San Suu Kyi:
Thank you for enthusiastically welcoming, especially our ethnic population and all the people that are here have welcomed me (heartfeltly).
It is very important for us to learn that we are all the same, that we should not discriminate between those who can learn and those who cannot learn.
We are all the same.
Those who can learn is not only for a country but for the whole world.
It will be valuable for the whole world.
We need to be humble and learn. We must know that we have to learn and there is still more to learn.
Those of you who are here need to know and put in your heart that we have many more to learn and gain knowledge and to continue pursuing knowledge.
We are now at the beginning of a path of democracy and we should endeavor to continue to walk through this path to attain this.
We all learn to get an education not only from the platform but from our life, to learn from our life experiences, learning from a classroom would just be a part of the education but not the whole education of life.
There may be some of us who already citizens of this country and some of us who are still Burmese citizens and we welcome both.
We did not think that you have separated from us because you have become citizens of another country. We know that you are still connected to us and still part of our country.
We do not separate or discriminate between people who are different. We have to be loyal to the country where we are and we should all behave in a way that people of the countries that we reside would have respect forever.
Because I listen to the radio quite often, I often hear the term "Fort Wayne." I learn that the people here from Burma in Fort Wayne are very, very enthusiastic and I know that sometimes there are conflicts between people.
That is a very human trait but we can all reconcile and overcome any conflict.
I would like to ask everyone to be united.
I also want to say to you not to be jealous, not to have envy. We need to control our feelings of envy and jealousy so that we can unite, join hands, and work towards our goals.
I would like to request that you should not have feelings that would cause discord. These feelings are not something that cannot be corrected.
We can change and correct these bad feelings.
Take pride in every one of us. Do not feel envy for those that are more successful than you. Show respect and kindness to each other.
I would appreciate and be very grateful if you could look back to your home country, which is Burma, and I will – we cannot demand that you come back to Burma and I do not ask the authorities however I will try my best for anyone who wishes to return to Burma to be able to come back and we should all work together to achieve this goal.
The speech was followed by a question and answer session.
Selected quotes from the Q&A
"Every indigenous (race) and ethnic group has something that is very good in their tradition and culture, so do not be disheartened."
On cultural heritage and the Burmese language
"Please do not forget your traditional native languages. Likewise, I want to ask these indigenous races, ethnic groups to also keep their languages as well as learn the Burmese language, which is now the official and has always been the official language of Burma.
"Please take pride in your culture."
"We should all have a conscience and not exploit our role in politics.
"Politics has great responsibility.
"And if you are in politics, it must be for a sense of responsibility, whether you get a nay or not.
"Even if you fail, you must have the courage to go on."
The role of Burma in the world
"If all the people, whether they are in Burma or outside Burma; if we all join hands together and work together, we can definitely achieve a place in the world."
On working together
"Whatever differences and problems we may have amongst ourselves I think we can definitely join hands and reconcile and move forward and solve any problems and basic roots of conflict and differences."
"I believe that if we continue to endeavor consistently, we will reach those goals of peace and prosperity.
"The most difficult challenge is persevering and to not despair in the face of failure but continue to work harder to achieve our goals."
On the path to democracy
"To successfully walk the path of democracy lies in the people of Burma – all of us. We cannot only depend on external support and support of our friends from other nations; we should also depend on ourselves to reach this goal."