Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress, yesterday in ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was joined by House and Senate leaders alongside Buddhist monks and women in traditional Burmese dress in presenting the award. Suu Kyi met with President Obama afterwards in the White House.
Suu Kyi told the press that it was “one of the most moving days of my life.”
Suu Kyi is a human rights activist who has championed for democracy in Myanmar for decades. In 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts, and formally accepted the award earlier this year. She was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2008, but was still under house arrest.
Between 1989 and 2010, Suu Kyi spent fifteen years under house arrest as a result of her non-violent struggle against the military junta in Myanmar. Suu Kyi’s victory in the election this year opened the possibility that the National League for Democracy party could take control of Myanmar’s government in the 2015 election, though the military continues to exert great influence over Myanmar’s government. The National League for Democracy party has not won an election since 1990, when the results were annulled by the army-junta that was in power at the time.
Aung San Suu Kyi and her heroic efforts were featured in the Winter 2012 issue of Ms. Magazine. You can read an excerpt online at MsMagazine.com .
Media Resources: Washington Post 9/19/12; Feminist Newswire 6/18/12; Ms. Magazine 2012