“A saint is a sinner that keeps on trying.”
Aung San Suu Kyi is the iconic leader of the democratic resistance movement in Myanmar and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She took up the cause in 1988 after witnessing a massacre of students while in the country to take care of her mother. Suu Kyi sacrificed relationships with her family for the good of her country by choosing to spend 15 years under house arrest to draw attention to the human rights abuses in her country.
Suu Kyi’s persistence and innate qualities allowed her to servant leadership at a time of transition. Her belief in non-violent activism and willingness to personally sacrifice for the cause has made her an influential leader in her country and all over the world. Through meditation and introspection during times of trial she persevered until finally being released in 2010.
Suu Kyi’s commitment to Buddhism allowed her to reason through the captivity. She was able to overcome fear and not develop a sense of vengeance.
“The only real prison is fear. And the only real freedom is freedom from fear,” she said.
Her spirit of inclusion, patience and forgiveness allow her to be a unifying force for a divided country.
She was elected to Parliament in 2012 and met with President Obama this fall. The country has been cut off from Western investment and trade due to it’s long history of human rights abuses. As a member of Parliament, she can now travel freely internationally to share her story and spread awareness of her cause. Obama’s visit signals a new beginning where her role will continue to grow.
Many consider her to be a similar figure to Nelson Mandela for the modern age. Both figures fought for justice using non-violence and suffered isolation from family and friends to achieve peace. She is truly an ideal and an example for global leaders everywhere.