May 18, 2016

Daw Suu’s Myanmar honors the vision of a woman who throughout her adult life has been the dominant force working to bring democracy to Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi. It is the seminal publication describing the woman and her forward-thinking plan for her nation’s economic renaissance built upon a foundation of social justice and careful environmental stewardship written by her life-long friend and IFCNR Director Koji Fusa.

October 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize for her unwavering and non-violent efforts on behalf of democracy, human rights and ethnic preservation in her native Myanmar. Under house arrest for fifteen years, she survived two assassination attempts and suffered the unimaginable sadness of being separated from her children and husband, Dr. Michael Aris, who died in England of prostate cancer during her internment. Her house arrest ended in 2010. In 2012, she was allowed to leave Myanmar to give a long delayed acceptance speech to the Nobel Committee and the world.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s life has been inseparable from the formation of Burma/Myanmar. Her father Aung San founded the Burmese army, negotiated the nation’s independence from Britain, and worked to unify Burma’s various ethnic factions. Two years after his daughter’s birth, Aung San, then Burma’s Prime Minister, was assassinated along with six other ministers involved in the push for independence and a bodyguard.

Suu Kyi’s mother, Khin Kyi, was a prominent political figure in the newly formed government. Named ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960, Khin Kyi took her daughter with her. Burma became a military dictatorship in 1962.

Suu Kyi went on to study at the Universities of New Delhi and Oxford. She worked at the United Nations in New York, married Dr. Aris and moved with her husband and two sons to London.

In 1988, Aung San Suu Kyi returned to Burma to care for her ailing mother and became a leader of the pro-democracy National League for Democracy (NLD). That year a new military junta gained control of the government. In 1989, it put her under house arrest. The 1990 elections saw the NLD tally enough votes to control 80 percent of the Parliament seats and put Aung San Suu Kyi in as Prime Minister, but she was forbidden the office because she was married to and mother of “foreigners.” The junta voided the election. In the 2012 election, she won a seat in parliament and won re-election in 2015. In 2016 she was named State Counsellor…the equivalent of Prime Minister.

Today she is working to consolidate all political factions, while the military stands quietly in the background, to rebuild Myanmar as a 21st Century nation.

The title of “Daw” is one of honor signifying the Myanmar people’s respect for her as well as the deep admiration of Mr. Fusa.

Daw Suu’s Myanmar is not only a biography of a unique individual. It is a serious manifesto of her economic, social and environmental values and the program she is striving to overlay upon a nation emerging from half a century of economic isolation. Myanmar is a country rich in agricultural and natural resources and has countless nations and corporate developers hoping to strip-mine its wealth.

Myanmar is poised to enter into the modern world. As Mr. Fusa writes “Daw Suu’s hope is to restore world respect and desire for Mayanmar product; to create economic stability for all its citizens, and to preserve and protect the pristine beauty of its environment.”

Daw Suu’s Myanmar is published in Japanese by Kirakusha: 2016.


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