Dr. Ma Thida, a surgeon, human rights activist and writer, is President of the newly formed PEN Myanmar Centre. In October 1993, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her writings in support of Aung San Suu Kyi. In 1996, she was released following political pressure from organizations including PEN International. That same year. she was the recipient of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.