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Bono to present award to Aung San Suu Kyi

An 'Ambassador of Conscience Award' concert will take place in Dublin in June.

The Hot Press Newsdesk, 30 May 2012

Bono is set to present the Amnesty International 'Ambassador of Conscience Award' to the leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, at a special concert in Dublin on June 18.

Irish and international artists from the worlds of music, drama, cinema and dance, will perform and give readings at what has been dubbed the ‘Electric Burma’ concert, which will be held for the Nobel Peace Prize recipient. The concert will take place at 4.45pm on Monday, June 18, in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin.

The centrepiece 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 be a celebration of 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 Tickets for Electric Burma will go on general sale this Friday, June 2, at 9am via, priced from €25 each.

‘Electric Burma’ is being organised and promoted by Bill Shipsey, founder of Art for Amnesty – Amnesty International’s global artist engagement programme. 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’ this morning, Bill 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 20 years. On behalf of Amnesty International members across the globe, we are honoured to welcome her to Ireland for an event that will celebrate her freedom and her extraordinary life’s work to secure freedom and 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 honoured we are that she should consider Ireland for her first real trip from home.”

Bob Geldof commented, “To be allowed to honour this woman is an honour in itself. The heroine of dignity, integrity, courage and steely moral vigour lost her freedom and her family in order to gain a nation. Ireland is enobled by her visit.”

Amnesty International will host a public celebration outside the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre 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. Keep an eye on for further details.

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