By Poppy Bragg
Suu Kyi is the third person to hold this position, following artist Anish Kapoor in 2009 and musician/producer Brian Eno in 2010.
But unlike her predecessors she will not be able to attend the event, due to fears that if she leaves Burma she will be prevented from returning by the military junta that rules the country.
Suu Kyi said in a recorded video message that the festival was: “A time for festivity, for diversity, for creativity, for expression, for freedom of expression.
“We look to you, to use your freedom of expression to let the world know what it is like in our country, what it is like to not be able to say what you want to say.”
Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Dome and Festival, said that it was a great honour to build the festival around Suu Kyi.
He said: “I hope this programme reflects some of her extraordinary spirit.”
Although not solely dedicated to freedom of expression and liberty, a substantial portion of the festival explores these themes.
Asian Dub Foundation’s Music of Resistance, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Brighton Festival Chorus’s performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio will explore through music the themes of resistance and political struggle.
Suu Kyi herself provides the subject for some of these, including an updated version of Richard Shannon’s play “The Lady of Burma”.
Polly Toynbee will also be chairing a discussion on the future of Burma.
The story of Zoya Phan – a campaign manager for Burma Campaign UK, whose village was destroyed when she was 14, will be featured as well.