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Aung San Suu Kyi finally gets honorary doctorate

Published Jun. 21, 2012

OXFORD, England — It was a long wait, but Aung San Suu Kyi has finally received her honorary degree from Oxford University.

In a speech, Suu Kyi, 67, praised the role Oxford played in helping her see humankind at its best during her long years under house arrest in Myanmar.

"The most important thing that I learned was respect for all of civilization," she said, wearing a traditional red academic gown and black hat. "In Oxford I learned to respect all that is best in human civilization. That helped me cope with something that was not quite the best."

She said "the saddest thing" about Myanmar is that its young people do not get to have a similar college experience because university life has been "shattered."

The leader of Myanmar's opposition was honored Wednesday at the university's Encaenia ceremony, in which it presents honorary degrees to distinguished people.

Suu Kyi said the Oxford visit brought back strong memories of her carefree student days in the mid 1960s.

"I didn't feel any different from then," she said, recalling idyllic summer days spent reading outside in Oxford.

Suu Kyi, who is making her first visits outside of her native country in 24 years, was awarded the honorary doctorate in civil law in 1993 but was unable to collect it.