Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese democracy campaigner, has been voted the winner of the Chatham House Prize 2011. This annual award is 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi has become an international symbol of democracy and peaceful resistance, having spent most of the last two decades in some form of detention because of her efforts to bring democracy to Burma. She remains the overwhelming symbol of opposition to military rule in the country. Upon her release from house arrest in November 2010, thousands of her supporters gathered to hear her call for the Burmese people to work together for change.
Aung San Suu Kyi says,
'To receive the Chatham House Prize is to be reminded of the unique link between national and international issues. International awareness helps our struggle for democracy in Burma; and our struggle provides us with an insight into the yearnings of all peoples for peace and freedom.'
In 1991, a year after her party, the National League for Democracy, won an overwhelming victory in an election the junta later nullified, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee chairman, Francis Sejersted, called her 'an outstanding example of the power of the powerless'. These words still resonate twenty years later. She remains an icon of democracy in the face of repression and continues to work to free Burma from oppression.
Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State (1997-2001) will accept the Prize on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi at a ceremony at the Banqueting House in London on December 1 2011.
Madeleine Albright says,
'I am honoured to accept the Chatham House Prize on behalf of my good friend Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the world’s great heroines. Her courage and longstanding commitment to human rights and democracy remain an inspiration to all those fighting to promote peaceful political reform around the world. It is fitting that members of Chatham House have voted for her in recognition of her tireless efforts to bring democracy to Burma.'
Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House, says,
'I warmly congratulate Aung San Suu Kyi on receiving the Chatham House Prize 2011. Her consistently measured and non-violent approach towards ending military rule in Burma has served as a powerful example to all those struggling to bring about democratic and accountable systems of governance in their countries.'
Notes to Editors
The award ceremony will take place in London on 1 December 2011 and will be open to the media. Media spaces are limited. Please contact the press office if you would like to attend.
About the Chatham House Prize
The process to select the nominees of the Prize draws on the recommendations of our research teams and the advice of our three Presidents. Chatham House members then vote for the winner in a ballot. The winner is presented with a crystal award and a scroll signed by our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen. More.
The other nominees for the 2011 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.
2010 - President Abdullah Gul of Turkey
2009 - President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil
2008 - President John Kufuor of Ghana
2007 - HH Sheikha Mozah, Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development
2006 - Joaquim Chissano, President of Mozambique
2005 - President Victor Yushchenko of Ukraine
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