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Aung San Suu Kyi is the leader if the struggle for human rights and democracy in Burma. Born in 1945 as the daughter of Burma’s national hero Aung San she was two years old when he was assasinated, just before Burma gained the independence to which he has dedicated his life. After receiving her education in Rangoon, Delhi, and at Oxford University, Aung San Suu Kyi then worked for the United Nations in New York and Bhutan. For most of the following twenty years, she was occupied raising a familty in England (her husband is British), before returning to Burma in 1988 to care for her dying mother. Her return coincided with the outbreak of a spontaneous revolt against 26 years of political repression and economic decline. Aung San Suu Kyi quickly emerged as the most effective and articulate leader of the movement, and the party she founded went on to win a collossal electoral victory in May 1990. In July 1989 she was put under house arrest and the military junta that now rules Burma refused for six years either to free her or to transfer power to a civilian government as it had promised. Upon her release in July 1995, she immediately resumed the struggle for political freedom in her country.
Aung San Suu Kyi is an honorary fellow at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford. In 1990 she was awarded the Thorolf Rafto Prize for Human Rights in Norway and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament. In its citation, the Norwegian Nobel Committee atated that in awarding the prize to Aung San Suu Kyi, it wished to honor this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means.
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