|English: Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) meets with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.|
Aung San Suu Kyi MP AC (Burmese: ; MLCTS: aung hcan: cu. krany, //, Burmese pronunciation: [àʊɴ sʰáɴ sṵ tɕì]; born 19 June 1945) is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. In the 1990 general election, the NLD won 59% of the national votes and 81% (392 of 485) of the seats in Parliament. She had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from 20 July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010, becoming one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners.
Suu Kyi received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the government of India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from the government of Venezuela. In 2007, the Government of Canada made her an honorary citizen of that country, the fourth person ever to receive the honour. In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal. On 19 September 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was also presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, which is, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the United States.
On 1 April 2012, her party, the National League for Democracy, announced that she was elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of the Burmese parliament, representing the constituency of Kawhmu; her party also won 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the lower house. The election results were confirmed by the official electoral commission the following day
Aung San Suu Kyi derives her name from three relatives: “Aung San” from her father, “Suu” from her paternal grandmother, and “Kyi” from her mother Khin Kyi. She is frequently called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Daw is not part of her name, but is an honorific, similar to madame, for older, revered women, literally meaning “aunt.” She is also often referred to as Daw Suu by the Burmese (or Amay Suu, lit. “Mother Suu,” by some followers), or “Aunty Suu”, and as Dr. Suu Kyi, Ms. Suu Kyi, or Miss Suu Kyi by the foreign media.
However, like other Burmese, she has no surname (see Burmese names)Aung San Suu Kyi was born on 19 June 1945 in Rangoon (now named Yangon). Her father, Aung San, founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma’s independence from the British Empire in 1947; he was assassinated by his rivals in the same year. She grew up with her mother, Khin Kyi, and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo, in Rangoon. Aung San Lin died at the age of eight, when he drowned in an ornamental lake on the grounds of the house. Her elder brother emigrated to San Diego, California, becoming a United States citizen. After Aung San Lin’s death, the family moved to a house by Inya Lake where Suu Kyi met people of very different backgrounds, political views and religions. She was educated in Methodist English High School (now Basic Education High School No. 1 Dagon) for much of her childhood in Burma, where she was noted as having a talent for learning languages. She is a Theravada Buddhist.
Some activists criticised Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence on the 2012 Rakhine State riots. After receiving a peace prize, she told reporters she did not know if the Rohingya could be regarded as Burmese citizens. Under the 1982 Citizenship Law, most Rohingya are unable to qualify for Burmese citizenship. As such, they are treated as illegal immigrants, with restrictions on their movement and withholding of land rights, education and public service. Some describe her stance as politically motivated. However she said that she wanted to work towards reconciliation and that she cannot take sides as “violence has been committed by both sides.”
Asked what democratic models Myanmar could look to, she said: “We have many, many lessons to learn from various places, not just the Asian countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia and Indonesia.” She also cited “the eastern European countries, which made the transition from communist autocracy to democracy in the 1980s and 1990s, and the Latin American countries, which made the transition from military governments. “And we cannot of course forget South Africa, because although it wasn’t a military regime, it was certainly an authoritarian regime.” She added: “We wish to learn from everybody who has achieved a transition to democracy, and also … our great strong point is that, because we are so far behind everybody else, we can also learn which mistakes we should avoid.”
In a nod to the current deep US political divide between Republicans led by Mitt Romney and the Democrats of Obama—battling to win the Presidential election on 6 November—she stressed with a smile “Those of you who are familiar with American politics I’m sure understand the need for negotiated compromise.