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Traveling with an “Unsung Hero of Compassion”: Dr. Cynthia Maung of Burma

I had a very busy day in Washington DC. I’m glad to be catching my flight home shortly.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend an award ceremony in California. The Dalai Lama was presenting Dr. Cynthia Maung with the Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award. While it would have been an incredible opportunity to be in the presence of these two great individuals, I suggested instead that, after the awards ceremony, we arrange a series of meetings in Washington for Dr. Cynthia (as she is known) to bring her message to our nation’s capitol.

She caught a red eye flight from the west coast. (We arranged for a suite so that she and her traveling companions could freshen up.) We started the morning with a full briefing with a range of participants including officials from the US Department of State, followed by a meeting with a director at Amnesty International that I know and work with. The day concluded with a meeting at the office of Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.

Dr. Cynthia is an inspiration. She could have simply fled her home country of Burma for safety in the west. Instead she has chosen to dedicate her life to helping refugees and displaced people (largely women and children) who have suffered under conditions I can’t begin to imagine. (One of her projects is a program to supply prosthetic limbs for all the landmine victims on the Thai-Burma border.) I hope in some small way we were able to help her work and the plight of the Burmese people gain some exposure in Washington DC.