Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese politician, diplomat, author, and a 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate who served as State Counsellor of Myanmar (equivalent to a prime minister) and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2016 to 2021. She has served as the president of the National League for Democracy (NLD) since 2011, having been the General Secretary from 1988 to 2011. She played a vital role in Myanmar's transition from military junta to partial democracy in the 2010s.
The youngest daughter of Aung San, Father of the Nation of modern-day Myanmar, and Khin Kyi, Aung San Suu Kyi was born in Rangoon, British Burma. After graduating from the University of Delhi in 1964 and the University of Oxford in 1968, she worked at the United Nations for three years. She married Michael Aris in 1972, with whom she had two children.
Aung San Suu Kyi rose to prominence in the 8888 Uprising of 8 August 1988 and became the General Secretary of the NLD, which she had newly formed with the help of several retired army officials who criticized the military junta. In the 1990 elections, NLD won 81% of the seats in Parliament, but the results were nullified, as the military government (the State Peace and Development Council – SPDC) refused to hand over power, resulting in an international outcry. She had been detained before the elections and remained under house arrest for almost 15 of the 21 years from 1989 to 2010, becoming one of the world's most prominent political prisoners. In 1999, Time Magazine named her one of the "Children of Gandhi" and his spiritual heir to nonviolence. She survived an assassination attempt in the 2003 Depayin massacre when at least 70 people associated with the NLD were killed.
Her party boycotted the 2010 elections, resulting in a decisive victory for the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Aung San Suu Kyi became a Pyithu Hluttaw MP while her party won 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the 2012 by-elections. In the 2015 elections, her party won a landslide victory, taking 86% of the seats in the Assembly of the Union – well more than the 67% supermajority needed to ensure that its preferred candidates were elected president and second vice president in the presidential electoral college. Although she was prohibited from becoming the president due to a clause in the constitution – her late husband and children are foreign citizens – she assumed the newly created role of state counsellor of Myanmar, a role akin to a prime minister or a head of government.
When she ascended to the office of state counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi drew criticism from several countries, organisations and figures over Myanmar's inaction in response to the genocide of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State and refusal to acknowledge that Myanmar's military has committed massacres. Under her leadership, Myanmar also drew criticism for prosecutions of journalists. In 2019, Aung San Suu Kyi appeared in the International Court of Justice where she defended the Burmese military against allegations of genocide against the Rohingya.
On 1 February 2021, Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested by the military during the 2021 Myanmar coup d'état after they declared the November 2020 Myanmar general election results fraudulent.