Political Leaders, Speaking of Education [Aung San Suu Kyi]

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese opposition politician and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, offers a broad definition of learning for responsible citizenship:

One of my favourite dicta is that people should not be categorized as good or evil, wise or stupid. It would be much more sensible to divide them simply into learners and non-learners. In between the two extremes would be a broad spectrum graded on the degree to which individuals are capable of correct assessment and understanding of the learning material at their disposal.

Here of course Iím giving a very broad definition to learning. It would involve much more than what could be acquired from any one institution or from any one formal teacher. It would mean a process of gaining such knowledge and experience as would help us to cope with the challenges that life throws at us and to find ways of enhancing our own existence, as well as that of as great a portion as possible of all the other occupants of our planet.

To put it in another way, the highest form of learning would be that which makes us caring and responsible citizens of this world, and equips us with the intellectual means necessary to translate our concerns into specific deeds.

Suu Kyi, Aung San. 30 May 2011. “A Centenary Dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi.” www.hku.hk/cpaoesite/press/ASSKeng.pdf