A Catholic university in the US will honour the Buddhist monks of Burma (Myanmar) for their courage and nonviolent demonstrations against the tyrannical Burmese military earlier this year, by awarding them with an honorary doctorate.
A representative of the monks, Sayadaw U Kovida, will accept the degree on their behalf at University of San Francisco next week. He is now living in exile in a New York monastery
In September of this year, thousands of Burmese Buddhist monks protested peacefully against their country's repressive military regime, prompting a brutal response from the government. Thousands of monks were beaten and arrested, and many were tortured and killed.
"We honour the monks of Burma to help keep the Burmese struggle for democracy in the minds and hearts of those of us who enjoy the freedoms they are struggling to achieve," said USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. "These are extraordinary, modern-day heroes and persons of faith committed to building a better world, even at the risk of arrest, beatings, and death. These are the kind of people we hope our graduates will be."
The monks exemplify USF's moral commitment to educate minds and hearts to change the world.
The Jesuit, Catholic University draws a comparison between these monks and the six Jesuit priests killed in El Salvador with their housekeeper and her daughter 18 years ago, also for outspoken criticisms of an equally repressive government. USF has previously honoured the slain Jesuits of El Salvador; it now honours the monks of Burma for their courage, compassion, and commitment to democracy in the face of a brutal military dictatorship.