Women's History Resource Site

King's College History Department

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi was born on June 19, 1945 in the city of Rangoon, Burma. General Aung San Kyi and Daw Khin Kyi brought her into the world. Her father, General Aung Sun, was the national leader of Burma until his assassination on July 17, 1947. His death would be one of the main contributors to her fight for peace and independence for the country of Burma. She was educated in the city of Rangoon until she was fifteen years old. Her mother would soon become Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal. In 1960 she would travel with her mother to these other countries. While living in these foreign lands she studied politics at Delhi University. She continued her education at St. Hugh's College and Oxford University where she received a BA in economics, politics, and philosophy. During the next several years she worked abroad and met her future husband Dr. Michael Aris. The couple soon married and had two children.

Aung's life was a little different then what most people are accustomed to in the world. Her father was assassinated for his political beliefs and her mother was an ambassador of the country of Burma. Politics played a big role in Aung's life and that is why it is not hard to believe what would soon happen to her. Aung had made her way back to her homeland in 1988, to take care of her sick mother. While in Burma she joined the pro-democracy movement, which was pushing for political reforms in Burma. On August 26, 1988 she addressed a half million people in a rally at the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon. She had preached to these people and called for a democratic government so that the people of Burma could experience freedom. An army unit in the Irrawaddy Delta confronted her almost a year later on April 5, 1989 while she was delivering a speech for democratic freedom. The army unit had orders to aim their weapons at her during the speech waiting for the order to fire. A major had finally ordered the troops back which prevented her from being assassinated like her father. Three months later on July 20, 1989 Aung San Suu Kyi is placed under house arrest in the city of Rangoon.

The elections were going to be held in May of 1990 in which she was declared ineligible. Even though she was unable to run in the election the National League for Democracy had a landslide victory even without her present. She would spend the next six years of her life at her lakeside villa in Rangoon to serve her house arrest. She wrote many speeches and books that were published. During this time she received many awards dealing with her great aspiration toward peace. However, maybe her greatest honor was the Nobel Peace Prize that she won on October 14, 1991. With her prize money of 1.3 million dollars she established a health and education trust for the people of Burma.

Aung San Sunn Kyi was released from house arrest on July 10, 1995. In 2002 authorities arrested her once more.  Freed in 2002, the next year the Burmese government again arrested her.  She remains in prison in 2006, despite ill health and international protests.  She keeps on fighting for democracy and freedom in her homeland of Burma. She has dedicated her life to the citizens of Burma so that they can experience the freedom that they deserve.  She has secured her name in Burmese history and will forever fight for democracy. 

Annotated Bibliographies

Abrams, Irwin. The Nobel Peace Prize. New York: Seven Stories Press, 1993.

This source containing information about the Nobel Peace prize does a great job of honoring its winners. The book tells you what you must do to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. Winning this award not only gives you great respect as seen throughout the book, but puts you in a category of people that are highly respected throughout the world such as Mother Teresa. Aung San Suu Kyi is among the many mentioned in the book. The book portrays her as a savior to the country of Burma. Without Aung the country of Burma may never have been as close to democratic freedom as it is today.

Anonymous. "Freedom." 1998. http://sunsite.unc.edu/freeburma/assk3.html <13 Nov. 98

The site shows you a speech that was given by Aung San Suu Kyi on November 21, 1995. It is a speech for her acceptance of the 1995 IRC Freedom Award. Her acceptance of the award shows how dedicated she really is to fighting for democracy in her homeland of Berma.

Anonymous. "Freedom." 1998. http://nobelprizes.com/nobel/ <13 Nov. 98

The site is dedicated to those who have won the Nobel Prize in any category. Each Category has its own page. The page for the Nobel Peace Prize lists the winners by year. Then it gives you a brief explanation on whom they are and what they did to win the award.

Brieger, Gert H. Nobel Prize Winners. New York: H.W. Wilson: 1992.

The book gives you a brief description about past Nobel Prize winners. It is a good factual book that explains what each of the former winners did to earn the award. However, since this book contains winners from all categories, the information is very broad. It does not go into a lot of detail about each specific winner.

Clement, Alan. "We are Still Prisoners in Our Own Country." Humanist 57 (November 1991): 15-21.

The article shows how the National League for Democracy won the election of 1990, but how Burma is still controlled by the nation's military forces. It gives a good description on what the citizens of Burma have to deal with and why it is such a struggle for them to create a democracy that will be respected.

Klein, Edward. "The Lady Triumphs." Vanity Fair (October 1995): 120-144.

This article gives a very good description of what Aung San Sunn Kyi has done for her country of Burma. Klein interviews her at her lakeside villa in Rangoon were she served her house arrest. She explains what she did during those six years and what she was planning to do when she was released. It is a very interesting article that will let you understand what type of person Aung San Sunn Kyi is and why she has sacrificed her life for democracy in Burma.

Kyi, Aung. "Freedom of Fear." 1998. Http://danenet.wicip.org/fbc/freefear.htm <13 Nov. 98

The site contains a speech that was written and delivered by Aung San Sunn Kyi. This speech was released in The New York Times, the Bangkok Post, and many others. The site has about eight other links that would be helpful in any extensive research.

Kyi, Aung. "Brief Biography." 1998. http://www.angelfire.com <13 Nov. 98

The site offers a timeline in which you can track Aung San Sunn Kyi life from 1988 until 1997. It gives you helpful information, showing you everything that she has accomplished during her years of work with the National League for Democracy. The site also has other links that you can explore.

Kyi, Aung. The Voice of Hope. New York: Seven Stories Press, 1997.

The book is written by Aung San Sunn Kyi. The book presents information about the political struggle that has taken place in Burma. It is full of speeches that Aung has presented throughout her fight for democracy. The book shows you how influential Aung has been over the years to the Burmese people. It gives readers a chance to experience what Aung San Sunn Kyi has been fighting for all these years.

Schlessinger, June H. The Who's Who of Nobel Prize Winners. Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx Press, 1991.

This source gives a brief description of Nobel Prize winners from the years 1971-1991. It gives a great background of what Aung San Sunn Kyi did to achieve the award. It explains what she has been fighting for and what she has been doing to create a democracy in Burma. It is a very good reference book when trying to understand why the person means so much to society.

Thompson, Clifford. Nobel Prize Winners. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1997.

Clifford Thompson gives you a chance to see why and how these Nobel Prize winners were given such a prolific award.



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Written by Sal Picinich, 1998
Last Revision: 4 October 2006
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