News / Asia

    Aung San Suu Kyi Says Nobel Prize Dispelled Isolation

    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi tours the Nobel Peace center in Oslo, Norway June 16, 2012.
    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi tours the Nobel Peace center in Oslo, Norway June 16, 2012.
    Selah Hennessy
    21 years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi traveled to Norway to speak about the time when she was named to receive the award in 1991, when she was held under house arrest in Rangoon. Suu Kyi said the peace prize rescued her from isolation and reunited her in spirit with the world community. 
     
    Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland praised the democracy leader's long struggle for human rights and said she is "a precious gift to the world community." Turning to Suu Kyi, he said her Nobel lecture Saturday was one of the most remarkable events in the history of the peace awards.
     
    "Please know: In your isolation you have become a moral voice for the whole world," Jagland said.

    Due to her detention in 1991, Suu Kyi's husband and her two sons traveled to Oslo to accept the Nobel award on her behalf.

    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on the podium, second from left, receives standing ovations the Norwegian Nobel Committee her speech at the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, Saturday, June 16, 2012.Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on the podium, second from left, receives standing ovations the Norwegian Nobel Committee her speech at the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, Saturday, June 16, 2012.
    x
    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on the podium, second from left, receives standing ovations the Norwegian Nobel Committee her speech at the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, Saturday, June 16, 2012.
    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on the podium, second from left, receives standing ovations the Norwegian Nobel Committee her speech at the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, Saturday, June 16, 2012.
    Addressing the Nobel Committee in Norway's capital Saturday, she recalled how that recognition long ago gave her strength during the isolation of house arrest.
     
    "It had drawn me back into the wider human community," she explained. "And, what was more important, the Nobel Prize had drawn the attention of the world to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. We were not going to be forgotten." 
     
    Suu Kyi was either imprisoned or held under house arrest for most of the following two decades, and she refused to even try to leave Burma, out of fear that she would not be allowed to return to her homeland. Her trip to Europe now is only her second journey abroad since she was freed in 2010.
     
    She spoke about the importance of world peace in her speech Saturday. The global aim, she said, should be to create a world where no one is displaced, homeless or hopeless.
     
    "War is not the only arena where peace is done to death. Wherever suffering is ignored there will be the seeds for conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages," she stressed.
     
    • Burmese citizens residing in South Korea greet Aung San Suu Kyi upon her arrival at a hotel in central Seoul, January 28, 2013.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the media as he embraces Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi after they spoke to the media at her residence in Rangoon, November 19, 2012.
    • Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, center, waters a sapling after planting it in Govindapuram village, north of Bangalore, India, November 17, 2012.
    • Burmese opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi pays floral tribute on the birth anniversary of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, at his memorial in New Delhi, India, November 14, 2012.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, September 19, 2012.
    • Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi holds her Congressional Gold Medal after it was presented to her by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (2nd L), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 19, 2012.
    • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, meets with Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the State Department, Washington, September 18, 2012.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi, center, arrives for the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, June 16, 2012 to thank the Nobel committee for the prize she won in 1991.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi addresses about 4,000 people gathered outside her house in Rangoon, Burma, June 1, 1996.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi is surrounded by security guards and newsmen as she walks out of her lakeside house in Rangoon, Burma, Juy 14, 1995.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi addresses crowd of supporters in Rangoon, Burma, July 7, 1989.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi addresses crowd of supporters in Rangoon, Burma, July 7, 1989.
    • Swiss Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, left Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, center, and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Bern, Switzerland, June 14, 2012.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi during an election campaign rally in Thongwa village some 50 kms from Rangoon, Burma, February 26, 2012
    • Aung San Suu Kyi is presented with flowers by cheering Karen refugees at Mae La refugee camp in Tha Song Yang district, Tak province, northern Thailand, June 2, 2012.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi, center, and elected lawmakers of her National League for Democracy party take an oath during a regular session of the Lower House at parliament in Naypyitaw, Burma, May 2, 2012.
    • British Prime Minister David Cameron and Aung San Suu Kyi share a light moment during their meeting in the compound of her lakeside home, April 13, 2012, Rangoon, Burma.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy party, April 2, 2012, Rangoon, Burma.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to journalists during the press conference in her residence in Rangoon, Burma, March 30, 2012.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton react after speaking to the press at Suu Kyi's residence in Rangoon, Burma, December 2, 2011.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi and her youngest son Kim Aris pay respect to her father, the late Geneneral Aung San, at the Martyr's Mausoleum in Rangoon, Burma, July 12, 2011.

    Burma had been ruled by a military junta since the early 1960s - until its first general election in two decades in 2010, and a civilian government was installed the following year.
     
    Suu Kyi said the recent reforms are a positive sign, but she warned the world not be excessively optimistic about how rapidly Burma is changing.
     
    Trouble, she says, continues.
     
    "Fires of suffering and strife are raging around the world. In my own country hostilities have not yet ceased in the far north," she noted. "To the west, communal violence resulting in arson and murder were taking place just several days before I started out on the journey that has brought me here today." 
     
    Sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims erupted in western Burma earlier this month. Official reports say 28 people have died and tens of thousands of people have been displaced. The country's president has declared a state of emergency and sent in army troops to keep the peace.
     
    Suu Kyi's 17-day tour of Europe began in Switzerland. She also will visit Britain, to address Parliament, and Ireland, to receive an award from Amnesty International in Dublin, and France.

    Loading timeline...

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sunny from: the USA
    June 16, 2012 9:49 PM
    Yes, it has been for 21 years! She finally gets it! It is great victories
    of freedom,democracy and human rights ! As she said Nobel Prize dispelled isolation. Now we are waiting for next winner, Mr. Liu Xiaobo will do the same to get this great prize some years later.Chinese Communist regime can not block this forever.Mr.Liu must stand there some day to speak out his words to the world!
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    June 18, 2012 1:15 AM
    looking for the moment

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora