Human Freedom and Democracy

The McCain Institute seeks to carve out a distinct approach to supporting human rights, advocating the integration of support for human rights as part of broader national security and foreign policy strategies. We also seek to use the Institute’s Decision Theater to develop models of U.S. and international policies that visually demonstrate the relative support given to human rights in comparison with other elements of bilateral and international policies.

In February 2013, the McCain Institute hosted Burmese Democracy Activists:

"Silenced No More" (by Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post)

When Burma’s Zin Mar Aung was placed in solitary confinement in 1998 for trying to organize students, Bill Clinton was president of the United States.

When she was released, Barack Obama was in the Oval Office.

Zin Mar Aung says she had never heard of George W. Bush or his wife, Laura, who used her own bully pulpit to push for liberation of Burma’s most famous political prisoner, democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, then under house arrest.

Aung San Suu Kyi is known to many now because of the largely unacknowledged work of the Bushes, as well as of Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Since her release, Aung San Suu Kyi has risen to public office, accepted her Nobel Peace Prize and been the subject of a movie (“The Lady”).

Less well-known are four rising female leaders with whom I met, including Zin Mar Aung, who are visiting the United States this month for leadership training. The Burmese women’s delegation is sponsored by Goldman Sachs’ “10,000 Women” program, in partnership with the George W. Bush Institute, the McCain Institute and the Meridian International Center.

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