Bono to Present Aung San Suu Kyi with Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award
(Washington, D.C.) — Irish and international artists from the worlds of music, drama, cinema and dance, will perform and give readings at the 'Electric Burma' concert for Nobel Peace Prize recipient and leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi. The concert will take place at 4.45 p.m. on Monday, June 18, in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2.
The centerpiece of 'Electric Burma' will be the presentation of Amnesty International's prestigious 'Ambassador of Conscience' Award to Aung San Suu Kyi. The presentation will be made by Bono and was originally announced from the stage during a concert by long-term campaigners U2 when they played at Croke Park in July 2009.
'Electric Burma' will celebrate music, dance and spoken work, and will include contributions by Damien Rice, Angelique Kidjo, Vanessa Redgrave, Bob Geldof, Riverdance, Jack Gleeson and others. Artistic direction and set design has been created by celebrated Catalan designer and director Lluís Danés.
Announcements on further artists and details of the concert will be made on www.electricburma.com. Tickets for Electric Burma will go on general sale this Friday, June 2nd, at 9 a.m. via www.ticketmaster.ie, priced from €25 (approximately $31) each.
'Electric Burma' is organized and promoted by Bill Shipsey, founder of Art for Amnesty – Amnesty International’s global artist engagement program. Aung San Suu Kyi is travelling to Ireland and attending the 'Electric Burma' concert directly from Oslo, where she will deliver the acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize that she was awarded in 1991 having been under house arrest or in prison for 15 of the last 24 years. This will be her first trip to Europe since 1988.
Speaking at a press conference to give details of 'Electric Burma' at the Bord Gais Energy Theater this morning, Shipsey commented, "Why Ireland for a concert for Aung San Suu Kyi? Samuel Beckett was once asked why we produced so many musicians and writers and dancers. He said that 'when you live on the last ditch (of Europe) all you can do is sing.'"
"Electric Burma will give a charge to the people of Burma. But the electricity for this concert will be provided by the star who will be seated in the stalls for most of the show. Everybody else who performs, no matter how celebrated or gifted, is a support act. Walk on Aung San Suu Kyi to the Dublin stage. A free woman of Dublin since 2001 and now, a free woman of the world."
The executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O'Gorman, commented, "Aung San Suu Kyi's visit is a truly momentous occasion for everyone in Ireland, and throughout the world, who campaigned tirelessly for her release for more than twenty years. On behalf of Amnesty International members across the globe, we are honored to welcome her to Ireland for an event that will celebrate her freedom and her extraordinary life's work to secure human rights for her people."
U2's Bono commented, "It's so rare to see grace trump military might and when it happens we should make the most joyful noise we can. Aung San Suu Kyi's grace and courage has tilted a wobbly world further in the direction of democracy. We all feel we know her, but it will be such a thrill to meet her in person. How honored we are that she should consider Ireland for her first real trip from home."
Bob Geldof added, "To be allowed to honor this woman is an honor in itself. The heroine of dignity, integrity, courage and steely moral vigor, lost her freedom and her family in order to gain a nation. Ireland is ennobled by her visit."
Amnesty International will host a public celebration outside the Bord Gais Energy Theater on the evening of the concert at which it is expected that Aung San Suu Kyi will make a brief address to the assembled crowd. Further details will be available in due course.
Notes to Editors
Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese opposition politician and General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD). She was detained under house arrest for almost 15 of the 21 years from July 20, 1989 until her most recent release on November 13, 2010, becoming one of the world's most prominent political prisoners. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, and was recently granted a passport to allow her to travel abroad for the first time in 24 years.
Bill Shipsey is the founder of Art for Amnesty – Amnesty International's global artist engagement program. He has also initiated and produced Amnesty's Ambassador of Conscience Award – an accolade that has been bestowed on such diverse activists as Nelson Mandela, Mary Robinson, Václav Havel, Peter Gabriel and U2.
The Ambassador of Conscience Award is Amnesty International's most prestigious human rights award. It is given annually to individuals who show exceptional leadership in the fight to protect and promote human rights and human conscience. The Award aims to promote the work of Amnesty International by association with the life, work and example of its 'Ambassadors.'
Lluís Danés is a film director, TV producer, stage director and set designer from Barcelona with over 19 years professional experience, renowned for his unconventional, visually stunning and prolific work. He easily works across different disciplines always creating a strong impression on the public. His work aims to put aesthetics at the disposal of ethics in a magical and dreamlike world.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.