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St Hugh’s announces Aung San Suu Kyi Summer School

St Hugh’s College has launched the Aung San Suu Kyi Summer School to help open up access to higher education for Burmese children, through English language tuition. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (PPE, 1965) is one of the most distinguished alumnae of St Hugh’s and is an Honorary Fellow of the College. She has remained close to the College and has agreed to act as the patron of the summer school.

The announcement was made at the Irrawaddy Literary Festival in Yangon by the British Ambassador to Burma, Andy Heyn. It is part of a package of education support from Oxford, offered in her honour. Professor Roy Westbrook, Vice Principal of St Hugh’s and Deputy Dean of Said Business School, and Development Director Kate Foley travelled to Burma for the event.

The inaugural Aung San Suu Kyi Summer School will take place in September 2013 and will see eight Burmese children aged 14 to 16 visit St Hugh’s College for two weeks of intensive English language study and extra-curricular activities.

Burma currently spends only 1.2% of the country’s GDP on education, significantly below the regional average for East Asian developing countries of 4%, and the EU average of 5%. This has had a detrimental effect on all areas of education. In particular, English language tuition has been affected, preventing gifted Burmese students from studying abroad, and limiting commercial and cultural exchange with the rest of the world.

The Summer School will represent a very special experience for Burmese pupils and help to raise their aspirations. The English language training will focus on developing reading, listening and speaking confidence, in a reassuring group environment. Afternoons will be spent enjoying a wide range of extra-curricular activities in, and around, Oxford. College Principal, the Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC, will host an informal barbecue at her lodgings with pupils, teachers and supporters.

St Hugh’s is only able to provide this unique opportunity through the generous support of alumni and friends of the College. The Development team is currently seeking further support for this very special project. A number of alumni and students have also volunteered to give their time to help with the School during September. If you would like to learn more about how you can support this opportunity please contact the Development team.

The package of education support also includes: a senior research fellowship in Modern Burmese Studies and fellowship for a visiting Burmese scholar in Political Science at St Anthony’s College, and a graduate scholarship to a Burmese student at St Hugh’s, jointly offered by Prospect Burma and Oxford University in a subject identified by Daw Suu as important for the future development of the country. This will be called the Oxford – Lady Gore-Booth Memorial Graduate Scholarship, to honour Lady Patricia Gore-Booth, who was a close friend of ASSK.

Pictured below: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with Professor Roy Westbrook. More images are available on the St Hugh's Alumni Facebook page.