Welcoming her into the Oval Office, I was struck immediately by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s quiet dignity. She’s soft-spoken, but is driven by a fierce determination—fortified by 15 years of house arrest—to bring democracy to her beloved Burma. Visiting her at her simple home in Rangoon two months later, I saw where The Lady had sustained herself by studying Buddhist teachings on love and compassion.
Today, having made the journey from prisoner to parliamentarian and party leader, Aung San Suu Kyi leads a party that won a landslide victory in last year’s election. Daw Suu is now guiding the country’s first civilian government in more than 50 years. Burma still faces huge challenges, and its success will depend on ending long-running conflicts and upholding the human rights of all ethnic groups and religions. But democracy is poised to deliver a future of greater promise and prosperity.
“We human beings,” she has said, “are so riddled with imperfection.” But, she adds, “in spite of the imperfections, democracy still remains a beacon of hope for all of us.” Now more than ever, The Lady remains a beacon of hope for 50 million people reaching for justice, and for millions more around the world.
Obama is the 44th President of the United States
More Must-Read Stories From TIME
- How an Online Pharmacy Sold Millions Worth Of Dubious COVID-19 Drugs — While Patients Paid the Price
- Why Literally Millions of Americans Are Quitting Their Jobs
- Meet the Women Participating in the Study That Could Change Future of Breast Cancer
- Inside the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Tomorrow's Business Leaders
- An Innovative Washington Law Aims to Get Foreign-Trained Doctors Back in Hospitals
- Why the Ex-Husband of a Missing Chinese Billionaire Is Risking All to Tell Their Story
- Timothée Chalamet Wants You to Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve