Aung San Suu Kyi, daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Associated Press

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese Pro-Democracy Icon and Noble Peace Laureate

February 10, 2011
by Kate Brack
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy opposition leader of Myanmar, has spent much of the last two decades in detention, but she has remained an unwavering voice for the people of her country.

Brief Biography of Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of Aung San, a Burmese solider regarded as the father of independence in the country. He played a major part in Burma’s declaration of independence from Britain in 1948.

Aung Sang Suu Kyi continued in her father’s path and has consistently put her country before personal interests. She began her political career in 1988 when she returned to her country to care for her ailing mother.

On the year of her return, military force killed almost 5,000 protesters on Aug. 8, 1988. Aung Sang Suu Kyi spoke out in favor of democracy and was soon appointed General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD). A growing threat to the government, she was detained a year later.

In 1990, the NLD won the majority of Myanmar’s Parliamentary seats, but the ruling junta refused to recognize the results. Supporters of Aung Sang Suu Kyi believe that she is rightfully the prime minister of Burma, though the elections would not have actually placed her in power.

Aung Sang Suu Kyi has spent most of her political career in detention, mostly house arrest. To pass the time she would meditate and listen to the radio to follow the events of her country and beyond.

After spending most of the 2000s in detention, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest on Nov. 13, 2010.

Resources for Studying Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung Sang Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.”  The Nobel Foundation offers a biography of Aung Sang Suu Kyi along with the text of her acceptance speech.

The New York Times offers an outline of the issues surrounding Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest.

A 2003 profile by The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima examines how Aung San Suu Kyi’s childhood and how she grew into a leader for her country. collects and links to news articles and biographical information about Aung San Suu Kyi and the situation in Burma from a wide variety of sources.

Between November 1995 and November 1996, during a rare period of freedom, Aung San Suu Kyi sent weekly letters about life in Burma to Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun. The letters, published in under the title “Letter from Burma,” can be read online at the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) Web site or purchased on

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