The headlines recently read, “Aung San Suu Kyi Leaves Burma for First Time in 24 Years.” Immediately, we at Women’s Voices for Change were reminded of the persistence—and scope—of Aung San Suu Kyi’s activism. The 66-year-old has spent the last 24 years in and out of detention or house arrest because of her commitment to bringing democracy to her homeland, Myanmar (the former Burma). She emerged as an international symbol of peaceful resistance by simply being still.
Soon our conversation turned from her global activism to imagining her private life, her personal challenges, and the sacrifices she’s had to make within her family. We wondered, How are her children doing? How did she cope with not being able to visit her dying husband? How has she dealt with these and other compromises she’s had to make? How does she sustain her level of courage on a daily basis?
As Aung San Suu Kyi makes stops around the globe, including visiting regions in Thailand where Burmese citizens are now living, she will finally make her way to Oslo, Norway later this month to accept the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. This time, there will be no representative in her place (in 1991 her son Alexander Aris delivered her speech on her behalf). She will deliver her Nobel Lecture in person.
And speaking of the Nobel Peace Prize, we’ve selected a video featuring other Laureates and global leaders speaking candidly and poignantly on why they are moved and inspired by Aung San Suu Kyi. The video served as a tribute for her 2011 Vital Voices Global Leadership Award.