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  • PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY IMAGES

PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY IMAGES

PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY IMAGES

Aung San Suu Kyi

Nationality: Burmese
Designation: Chairperson of National League of Democracy

A Burmese opposition politician who remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years until her most recent release in November 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi became one of the world’s most prominent
political prisoners. In 2008, after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, she lost the roof of her house and lived in virtual darkness after losing electricity in her dilapidated lakeside home. She was forced to use candles as she was refused a generator set.

Aung San is the chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. She was educated in Methodist English High School and is a Theravada Buddhist.

Influenced by both Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence and Buddhist concepts, Aung San entered politics to work for democratization, helped found the NLD in 1988, but was put under house arrest in July 1989.

Aung San received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and she was finally able to deliver her Nobel acceptance speech at Oslo’s City Hall in 2012, two decades after being awarded the peace prize.

Aung San was awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal in 2008, at which time she was under house arrest, and was unable to receive the medal. She received the medal, in person, in 2012 and met President Barack Obama at the White House. The experience was described by Aung San as ‘‘one of the most moving days of my life.’’

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