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Aung San Suu Kyi serves as the head of the National League for Democracy and the first State Counsellor in Burma. Famous for her political ideals, Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese stateswoman, social democratic politician, author, and diplomat whose biography still continues as she remains in power.

Family Life and Education

Aung San Suu Kyi was born in Hmway Suang, British Burma on June 19, 1945.[1] The only daughter of Aung San, who negotiated Burmese Independence in 1947, and Khin Kyi, who served as the Burmese Ambassador to India in 1960. Her name, when broken down, comes from her father, “Aung San,” her paternal grandmother, “Suu,” and her mother, “Kyi.” She is also known as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, with “Daw” meaning “Aunt.” She grew up in Rangoon (now Yangon) with two brothers, Aung San Oo and Aung San Lin.[2]

The family moved to Inya Lake and Suu Kyi attended Methodist English High School. She learned English, Burmese, Japanese, and French.[3] Suu Kyi began studying at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in New Dehli when her mother moved to India in 1960. She received a degree in politics from Lady Shri Ram College in 1964. She then graduated from St. Hugh’s College, Oxford with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

She met Dr. Michael Aris just before moving to New York City to work at the United Nations for three years. On January 1, 1972, the two married and she moved to Bhutan, where she became a Research Officer for Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[4] Aung San Suu Kyi gave birth to two sons, Alexander (1973) and Kim (1974), after returning to England in 1973. She then pursued a Masters of Philosophy as a research student at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in Burmese literature.[5]

This became Suu Kyi’s third degree in politics.

Early Political Career

Aung San Suu Kyi returned to Burma in 1988 to care for her mother who suffered a stroke.[6]

Suu Kyi prioritized her sick mother over her career.

The same year General Ne Win, leader of the Burmese military and currently ruling party, stepped down from office. She spoke to 500,000 people on August 26, 1988, at the Shwedagon Pagoda and insisted on forming a democracy. The military instituted the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) and, on September 18, they banned gatherings of more than four people. On September 24, Aung Suu Kyi helped establish the National League for Democracy (NLD). She defied the new government and began a national tour promoting democratic thought.

Suu spread her ideology despite the probable consequences.

She was eventually put under house arrest without trial on July 20, 1989.


On May 27, 1990, the SLORC held a general election and the NLD won with 59% of the vote. The military refused to concede power and nullified the elections. On October 12, Suu Kyi received the 1990 Rafto Human Rights Prize. She also won the 1990 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. She used the $1.3 million prize money to begin a trust for Burmese health and education.[7]

Aung uses her wealth to help her country.

Biography of Aung San Suu Kyi’s Detentions

After her first house arrest in 1989, Aung Suu Kyi was released on July 10, 1995. She was placed under house arrest again on September 23, 2000, and released on May 6, 2002.[8]

Suu Kyi continued with her political agenda despite multiple arrests.

After the Depayibn massacre on May 30, 2003, she was held for three months in secret before being placed back on house arrest.[9]On May 25, 2007, her house arrest was extended by a year despite international outcry.[10]Again on October 24, 2012, cities worldwide held protests after Daw Aung San Suu Kyi reached 12 years under house arrest.[11]It was illegally extended again on May 27, 2008.[12]They extended it again for 18 more months on August 11, 2009, after an American man swam Inya Lake uninvited in May 2009.[13]Suu Kyi was finally released on November 13, 2010, only six days after the Burmese General Election, preventing her from running.[14]

Post-Detention Political Life

Aung San Suu Kyi contested a special parliament seat in the Kawhmu Township and won. She and other NLD elects took office on May 2, 2012, despite being unsatisfied with the current constitution’s wording.[15]On July 12, she declared her intention to run for the 2015 General Election in spite of the constitution prohibiting widows and mothers of non-native children from running.[16]The NLD won and on March 2016, Aung Suu Kyi became Minister of Electric Power and Energy, Education, the President’s Office, and Foreign Affairs.[17]

Aung San Suu Kyi is the first female to hold the position of Minister of Education, Electric Power and Energy, Foreign Affairs, and the President’s Office.

On April 6, 2016, President Htin Kyaw signed a bill into law declaring Suu Kyi the State Counselor of Myanmar, giving her effective control over parliament.[18]


References

Nobel Media AB 2014. (1991). Aung San Suu Kyi - Biographical. Retrieved July 4, 2016, from The Official Website of the Nobel Prize, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1991/kyi-bio.html

Footnotes

  1. Popham, P. (2012). The lady and the peacock: The life of Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma. London: Rider & Co. p. 163
  2. Nobel Media AB 2014 (1991)
  3. Stewart, W. (1997). Aung San Suu Kyi: Fearless voice of Burma. Minneapolis: Lerner Publishing Group. p. 31-32
  4. Nobel Media AB 2014 (1991)
  5. Unknown. (2016). The School of Oriental and African studies, University of London. Retrieved July 2, 2016, from The Complete University Guide, http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/the-school-of-oriental-and-african-studies
  6. Unknown. (2016). The School of Oriental and African studies, University of London. Retrieved July 2, 2016, from The Complete University Guide, http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/the-school-of-oriental-and-african-studies
  7. Nobel Media AB 2014 (1991)
  8. Moe, W. (2008). Suu Kyi Questions Burma’s Judiciary, Constitution.
  9. Nakashima, E. (2003, October 13). Burma’s Iron “Aunty.” Washington Post.
  10. CNN LIbrary. (n.d.). Aung San Suu Kyi - Biograpahy. Retrieved July 02, 2016, from http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/18/world/asia/aung-san-suu-kyi-fast-facts/
  11. Burma Campaign UK. (2007, October 24). Campaigners mark 12 years of detention for Aung San Suu Kyi.
  12. Al Jazeera Media Network. (2016). UN: Suu Kyi Detention “Illegal.”
  13. McDonald, Mark (7 May 2009). U.S. Man Held After Swim to Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate’s Home. The New York Times.
  14. Burma announces elections - But not for Aung San Suu Kyi (2010, January 4). The Telegraph.
  15. Magnier, M. (2012, May 2). Aung San Suu Kyi makes history by taking Myanmar parliament seat.
  16. Unknown. (2013, June 15). The halo slips. The Economist.
  17. The Associated Press. (2012, April 1). NLD claims Suu Kyi victory.
  18. Cochrane, L. (2016, April 5). Aung San Suu Kyi to Become ’State Counsellor’ of Myanmar.

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