US President Barack Obama ended his three-day visit to Myanmar on Friday with a town hall meeting with hundreds of Asian students. It was a typically relaxed, charismatic performance during which he delighted his audience by speaking Burmese. But along with the charm there was a carefully weighed message that the country's path to reform is yet to be completed and that "progress is not inevitable". His first visit two years ago was hailed as a new dawn for Myanmar; a reward for its breakneck turn towards reform. This trip has been trickier; a pressuring of the government to get back on track. Some of his audience pressed the point immediately, with signs blasting what they called the country's "fake reforms". The president defused the moment immediately, then with a greeting of "Mingalaba" - Burmese for "hello" - he was on safe ground. Obama used his speech to acknowledge the growing concern that the reform process had stalled, or even regressed. He spoke about attacks on media freedom and the treatment of ethnic minority groups and he urged the student leaders in the audience to practice tolerance and mutual respect to help forge an inclusive national identity. The students had queued in long lines to get into the invite-only event and to put a question to Obama, who's hoping that political change in Myanmar will form an important part of his legacy. The question that brought the biggest audience reaction was: "What would you do if you were President of Myanmar?" As the students cheered, Obama joked about being more loved abroad than at home, before once again stressing the need to move to full democracy. His words appeared to strike a chord with many in the audience who spoke afterwards of being inspired and knowing what they had to do for the future. After the town hall meeting, Obama left Yangon for the G-20 meeting in Australia. You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/4dd365599227046ad6c896cba6bd7607 Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork
Video on this topic
SUPPORTERS WISH DEMOCRACY ICON A HAPPY BIRTHDAY
(19 Jun 2012) Aung San Suu Kyi's European tour could play a decisive role in transforming Myanmar from dictatorship to democracy, activists said in London on ...
President Obama Delivers Address at 2014 West Point Commencement
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the 2014 West Point Commencement in West Point, NY on May 28, 2014. A transcript is available at ...
US President presser, s'bites on midterms, Myanmar, US-India relations
(7 Nov 2010) SHOTLIST 1. Pan of US President Barack Obama walking up to stage 2. Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama, on stage 3. Wide of audience 4.
President Obama Addresses the University of Queensland
On November 15, 2014, President Obama spoke to students at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
President Obama Holds a Press Conference with President Park of South Korea
President Obama and President Park Geun-Hye of South Korea hold a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House. May 7, 2013.
President Obama & Prime Minister Shinawatra Joint Press Conference
President Obama and Prime Minister Shinawatra of Thailand hold a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand. November 18, 2012.
Obama to meet with Myanmar president over reform concerns
US President Barack Obama is meeting his Myanmar counterpart Thein Sein, hours after accusing his government of backsliding on reforms. Obama has been ...
MYANMAR: OBAMA STUDENTS TOWN HALL WALKUP
President Obama hosts a town hall with Burmese students in Myanmar. To License This Clip, Click Here: ...
Obama addresses students in Burmese; warns real reform hasn't yet been achieved
US President Barack Obama ended his three-day visit to Myanmar on Friday with a town hall meeting with hundreds of Asian students. It was a typically relaxed, ...