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Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to get U.S. Holocaust Museum honor

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will honor Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the democracy movement in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Suu Kyi, who recently won a seat in her country’s parliament under democracy reforms, spent most of 1989 through 2010 under house arrest in what had been a totalitarian regime.

She will be recognized at a presentation in the Washington area on April 18, the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, with the Elie Wiesel Award, named for one of the museum’s founders, and like Suu Kyi a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

"Her moral courage facing dictatorship is exemplary," Wiesel said in a statement released through the museum. "Few leaders have done so much, for such a long period, for the honor of true democracy."

Suu Kyi will not be present for the event but is likely to deliver a video message.

Speakers at the event are scheduled to include Natalie Portman, the Oscar-winning actress; Jacob Lew, the White House chief of staff; and Gerda Weissmann Klein, a Holocaust survivor.

The Obama administration has rolled back some U.S. sanctions on Burma/Myanmar because of its recent reforms.

The speaker at Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies in the U.S. Capitol, to take place on April 19, will be Timothy Geithner, the U.S. Treasury secretary, who will outline efforts by his department toward the end of World War II to save Jews in Europe.

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