An open letter to Aung San Suu Kyi

May 2005

At the beginning of the third millennium our global society is, thanks to modern technologies, able to easily communicate with anyone anywhere in the world. We are all becoming part of a larger spiritual dialogue that is further evolving our civilization.

Everyone has a right to become a meaningful and authentic part of this dialogue. Everyone has something to say and, in his or her own way, something to contribute. But you have been denied this basic right for a number of years. A great many believe you have been deprived of this basic right because your voice - gentle, gracious and inspirational - resonates with the undeniable and resolute force of truth; a truth that threatens those who deny your right to speak. Internationally, your voice has become an inspiration for civil society and it is a light in the darkness along the way to spiritual freedom.

People from all over the world write you letters and hold you in great esteem because you are a symbol of hope, courage and dignity. They write you even though they know their letters and words of hope may never reach you. History, however, has taught us that neither walls nor weapons can silence even the most isolated voice of courage and truth. Indeed, the efforts to silence such a voice only make it louder. Please know that we carry your voice in our hearts for all to hear.

Combating attempts, such as this one, to silence the truth is one of the reasons that we, the undersigned, along with others, have come together to form a collective effort known as Shared Concern Initiative. Shared Concern Initiative is an informal group of political, religious and intellectual leaders from around the world who, in the interest of good governance, tolerance and respect for human rights have dedicated themselves to address important challenges facing global society.

The first undertaking of Shared Concern Initiative is this open letter to you as a symbolic attempt to jointly break through the totalitarian barriers erected so unfairly around you.

With this letter also comes our humble invitation. We would be honoured if you joined us in the Shared Concern Initiative and in our effort to form a collective voice for truth, tolerance and transparency.

With deep respect,

Václav Havel
Michael Novak
Mary Robinson 
George Soros 
André Glucksmann 
His Holiness Dalai Lama
Karel Schwarzenberg 
Richard von Weizsäcker 
Vartan Gregorian
Frederik Willem de Klerk
Prince Hassan bin Talal 
Hans Küng 
Desmond Tutu