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Aung San Suu Kyi

Date of birth : 1945-06-19
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Rangoon, Myanmar
Nationality : Burmese
Category : Politics
Last modified : 2010-11-15

Aung San Suu Kyi is the leader of the National League for Democracy of Burma. She is a pro-democracy activist, who has been placed under house arrest by the Burmese authorities a number of times and Aung San Suu Kyisince a number of years. In fact, even presently, she is living under house arrest in her country. In recognition of her dedication and efforts towards ushering an era of democracy in Burma, she has won the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992, she was also awarded the ‘Jawaharlal Nehru Peace Prize’, by the Government of India.

Aung San Suu Kyi was born on 19th June 1945, in Rangoon, Burma. Her father was Aung San, the great man who negotiated Burma's independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. She lost her father when she was hardly two years, the result of an assassination attempt on his life. It was her mother Khin Kyi, who donned the responsibility of bringing her up, along with her two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo. Tradegy struck Khin Kyi’s family once again, when Suu Kyi was only eight years old.

She lost one of her brothers, Aung San Lin, in a pool accident. Her elder brother, Aung San Oo, migrated to San Diego and became a US citizen. Throughout her childhood, Suu Kyi received her education in the English Catholic schools of Burma. With the formation of a new Burmese government, Khin Kyi (her mother gained prominence in politics and was appointed as the Burmese ambassador to India in 1960. Suu Kyi also went with her mother and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College of Delhi University.

Early Life


Aung San Suu Kyi obtained a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, from St Hugh's College of Oxford University, in the year 1967. She was elected Honorary Fellow at Oxford University, in 1990. In 1971, Suu Kyi went to New York for further studies. At that time U Thant of Burma was the Secretary General of the UN. Suu Kyi joined U.N. secretariat as Assistant Secretary, Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions. During weekends she volunteered at hospital, helping indigent patients in programs of reading and companionship. In 1972, she married Dr. Michael Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture. The next year, she gave birth to a son, Alexander (in London) and in 1977, the couple had their second son, Kim.

Political Life


In 1988, Aung San Suu Kyi came back to Burma, mainly for the purpose of looking after her ailing mother. The same year, General Ne Win, the leader of the ruling socialist party, stepped down. This led to protests and demonstrations throughout the country. The ultimate result was taking over of the power by a military junta. This is the time when Suu Kyi entered politics, to make efforts for ushering democracy once again in Burma. She was one of the founders of the National League for Democracy, formed on 27th September 1988.

In 1990, military junta of Burma held a general election, in which Suu Kyi’s party, National League for Democracy, won. Though this would have made her the Prime Minster of Burma, the military junta refused to hand over power and declared the elections as nullified. Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest and the same, year, she won Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The next year, she became the recipient of the Noble Peace Prize.

In 1995, after a gap of five years, Aung San Suu Kyi was granted release from the house arrest. However, she was refused the permission to go out of the country. Her husband became a victim of cancer in 1997 and being denied a visa to Burma, died without her in 1999. In September 2000, Aung San Suu Kyi was again put under house arrest and remained imprisoned till 2002. Her caravan was attacked in the year 2003, by an allegedly ‘government-sponsored’ mob.

Though Suu Kyi managed to flee from the scene, she was arrested upon reaching Ye-U, lodged in Insein Prison and finally, again placed under house arrest. Since that year, she has been constantly under house arrest, the arrest being extended every year, for another 12 months. During this time, she has met a few UN envoys and even her party member (in 2007). Even after appeal from so many countries and organizations, Burmese authorities refuse to set her free. Suu Kyi is a shining beacon of non-violent struggle for democracy.

Timeline

* 1945 - Born on 19th June, in Rangoon, Myanmar
* 1960 - Studied politics at Delhi University
* 1967 - Graduated in philosophy, politics and economics, from St. Hugh's College, Oxford University
* 1972 - Married Dr. Michael Aris, a British scholar
* 1988 - Became involved in Myanmar politics and was one of the founders of the National League for Democracy
* 1990 - General election won National League for Democracy, Suu Kyi’s party, but military refused to hand over power; Aung San Suu Kyi placed under house arrest
* 1990 - Received Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
* 1991 - Won the Nobel Peace Prize
* 1992 - Won the Jawaharlal Nehru Peace Prize, of India
* 1995 - Released from house arrest in July
* 1999 - Lost her husband to cancer
* 2000 - Placed under house arrest again
* 2002 - Released from house arrest
* 2003 - Attacked by allegedly a ‘government-sponsored’ mob, Arrested and imprisoned at Insein Prison in Yangon
* 2003 - Underwent a hysterectomy and placed under house arrest again
* 2004 - Met Razali Ismail, UN special envoy to Myanmar, United Nations Working Group for Arbitrary Detention requested the authorities in Burma to set her free (to no avail)
* 2005 - House arrest extended for another year
* 2006 - Met Ibrahim Gambari, UN Undersecretary-General (USG) of Department of Political Affairs, House arrest extended for another year
* 2007 - House arrest extended for another year, Met a United Nations emissary and Ibrahim Gambari
* 2007 - Met political allies National League for Democracy, along with a government minister


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