Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese democracy campaigner, was voted winner of the 2011 Chatham House Prize by members.
She was awarded the prize for becoming an international icon of democracy and peaceful resistance to oppressive rule, having spent most of the last two decades in some form of detention because of her efforts to bring democracy to Burma. Following her release from house arrest in November 2010, her measured approach was recognized as having enhanced her international standing and demonstrated that she remains the central figure and overwhelming symbol of opposition in Burma.
HE Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State (1997-2001) accepted the prize on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi at an award ceremony and dinner at the Banqueting House in London on Thursday 1 December.
In a message of congratulations, Her Majesty the Queen said; ‘I warmly congratulate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on being awarded this year’s Chatham House Prize. Her principled stand in favour of democratic values and her peaceful resistance to oppressive rule have inspired countless people in many countries around the world. Members of the Royal Institute of International Affairs have chosen a worthy winner.'
HE Madeleine Albright said; 'The Chatham House Prize, awarded on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, is the most prestigious honour of its kind, and it is an incredible privilege for me to accept it on behalf of one of the heroines of democracy in our era, Aung San Suu Kyi. By recognizing the heroism of Aung San Suu Kyi and her fellow democrats, Chatham House has tonight bestowed its highest honour on the most deserving person possible.'
Lord Ashdown, Chatham House co-president, said; 'We at Chatham House are proud to honour [Aung San Suu Kyi] today, to acknowledge the contribution and the inspiration she has provided, and to hope with her that it will lead at last to new hope for her country. It is our privilege to give her this award tonight, but it is our greater privilege, I think, to stand beside her as she continues her strong work.'
As part of her visit to the UK in June 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi took part in a private discussion at Chatham House. She also received a signed letter from HM The Queen congratulating her on winning the Chatham House Prize.
The Chatham House Prize is an annual award presented to the statesperson deemed by members of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.
The other nominees for this year's prize were Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, Special Representative for Climate Change, Mexico; Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor, Central Bank of Malaysia; and Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro Limited. More information.
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As part of presenting the Chatham House Prize 2011 to Aung San Suu Kyi, a series of events were held in the period leading up to the award ceremony exploring questions of democracy and human rights across the world. More.