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Aung San Suu Kyi Biography

Politics | 7-14 yrs | Interactive

Early life

Aung San Suu Kyi was born on June 19, 1945, was born to a Burmese General Aung San and his wife, Daw Khin Kyi. Her father had helped Burma in gaining independence from the United Kingdom in the year 1947. He was assassinated the same year. After her father’s demise, her mother looked after her solely.

Education and career

Suu Kyi received her early education in Rangoon, Burma (now known as Myanmar) until she was 15 years old. In 1960, she came to India with her mother when she came as the Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal. Suu Kyi studied politics at the Delhi University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from St. Hugh’s College, Oxford University. Thereafter, she started working for the UN. In 1972, she got married to Dr. Michael Aris, a professor of Tibetan culture who lived in Bhutan, and had two children.

Entry into active politics

In 1988, she returned to Burma to take care of her sick mother. She noticed that the Burmese people desired to break free from the military rule and wanted democracy. She decided to help her countrymen in establishing the democratic order in the country. Towards this purpose, she formed the National League for Democracy on 27 September, 1988.

Arrest and elections

Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested in 1989 and put behind bars in 1990. This happened just after an election in which her party, then National League for Democracy, had won by a considerable majority. The military, however, still did not allow her to take charge of her country. Between 1990 to 2010, she was either kept in the prison or in the house arrest. During the periods of confinement, Kyi engaged herself in studying languages such as French and Japanese, meditation and exercising.

Myanmar’s first free general election

In November 2010, Myanmar held its first general elections in 20 years. The army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won by a large majority. The new government released Suu Kyi from house arrest. In April 2012, Suu Kyi stood in the elections and won a seat for herself in the parliament. Moving on, she led her party to a majority win in Myanmar’s first openly contested election in November 2015. Today, she is the state counsellor of Myanmar and a close confidant of the President, Htin Kyaw.

Awards and accomplishments

Aung San Suu Kyi has played a vital role in establishing democracy in Myanmar. Her outstanding contribution is that Myanmar politics is recognized by the world.
Suu Kyi received the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990.

Nobel Peace Prize

In 1991, she received the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, and in 1992, she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by India. The US House of Representatives awarded her the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. At that time, she was still in the prison. She was made an honorary citizen of Canada. In 2014, she was listed as the 61st most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.

4 Interesting facts about Aung San Suu Kyi

  1. Aung San Suu Kyi’s name is made up from the names of three of her family members- ‘Kyi’ from her mother, ‘Aung San’ from her father and ‘Suu’ from her grandmother’s name.
  2. Aung San Suu Kyi has been in the prison or under house arrest for more than 15 years
  3. She is deeply influenced by the ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi and Buddhism.
  4. Aung San Suu Kyi has also authored a number of books. Her most popular works are – Freedom from Fear, The Voice Of Hope, Let’s Visit Burma and Letters from Burma