STUDENTS learnt about the importance of determination, perseverance and curiosity when they met Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The trio, from King Edward VI, in Bury St Edmunds, were the only school pupils to share an audience with the inspirational figure during a gathering of 250 politicians and dignitaries at Whitehall.
They were invited by a director of the British Council, who peviously joined the school on its groundbreaking visit to Kurdistan.
Headteacher Geoff Barton said: “I felt an incredible sense of privilege in the school being represented. The students we chose to attend are very aware and passionate about political issues and they were incredibly inspired by the visit.”
Student Grace O’Brien asked the Burmese opposition leader, who spent more than 20 years under house arrest, if young people in Burma were politically active.
The 17-year-old said: “She answered that from a very young age people are involved in poltics and there are always people at demonstrations. There’s enthusiasm but the problem is that they don’t have the chance to channel that enthusiasm on to the authorities. She’s a very persevering person and despite all the hardships she’s focused on her goal – democracy.”
Fellow pupil Sam Mortimer, 17, said Ms Aung San Suu Kyi’s overriding messages was not to take democracy for granted.
She said: “For a person who has been imprisoned for so long, you would expect her to be bitter about her country but she wasn’t. She was interested in moving forward rather than focusing on the past.”
Sam recalled how the Nobel Peace Prize winner spoke about the importance of giving a true representation of Burma during school exchanges as ‘quite often the Government tend to send elitist schools’.
On the theme of education, head boy Sam Malcolm, said: “I liked that she mentioned that as a student you should question things that you’re not sure about and be humble and show humility.”