Keynote Address at the Beijing World Conference on Women

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Aung San Suu Kyi is a activist for democracy and the leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma. She is globally known as a political activist and has been awarded several prizes including the Nobel Peace Prize. The speech “keynote Address at the Beijing World Conference on Women” was delivered on the 31st of August 1995. Prior to delivering the speech in 1990 Aung San Suu Kyi was elected into government. However, the SLORC refused to hand power over to her and she was put under house arrest. Because of the house arrest, this speech had to be presented via video.

Throughout the speech Aung San Suu Kyi’s focal points aim at female empowerment, female representation in politics, and controversially, the idea that women are pacifying, because they are nurturing.

In the first paragraph, Kyi immediately engages her audience by using inclusive pronouns such as “our” and “us”. The positive tone of the opening lines of her speech further involves the audience’s attention and creates a sense of familiarity between the speaker and the listeners. Inclusive language is also used throughout the speech and unifies the audience as she speaks of her contributions in a modest manner by stating that she is only making a ‘small contribution’.

Throughout her speech, the words ‘freedom’ and ‘suffering’ are constantly repeated. Aung San Suu Kyi establishes to her audience that where there is no freedom, there will always be suffering. Kyi also uses conjunctions throughout the speech highlighting facts like; “and who continue to suffer far more“ and “protecting and caring for the young and old”. By the use of this technique she is creating dramatic pauses so that the audience is allowed time to reflect on important issues.
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