Aung San Suu Kyi
She is the daughter of General Aung San, who negotiated Burma's independence from Britain in 1947 and was assassinated by rivals in the same year. She studied at Oxford, England, where she met her future husband, with whom she has two children.
She returned to Myanmar in 1988 to care for her ailing mother. In that year, the long-time leader of the socialist ruling party, General Ne Win, stepped down, leading to mass demonstrations for democratization, which were violently suppressed. A new military junta took power. Heavily influenced by Mohandas Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence, Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratization and was put under house arrest in 1989. She was offered freedom if she would leave the country, but she refused.
The military junta called general elections in 1990, which Aung San Suu Kyi's party "National League for Democracy" won decisively. The results were nullified and the military refused to hand over power, resulting in an international outcry and partly leading to her winning the Nobel Peace Prize in the following year. She used the $1.3 million prize money to establish a health and education trust for the Burmese people.
She was released from house arrest in July 1995; it was made clear that, should she leave the country to visit her family in England, she would be denied re-entry. She stayed, and never met her husband again; he died in 1999.
She was repeatedly prevented from meeting with her party supporters, and in September 2000, she was again put under house arrest. On May 6, 2002, following secret confidence building negotiations lead by the United Nations, she was released; a government spokesman said that she was free to move "because we are confident that we can trust each other". Aung San Suu Kyi proclaimed "a new dawn for the country". However at the end of May 2003 she was arrested again. After a period of imprisonment and undergoing an operation in September she was placed again under house arrest in Rangoon.