After 21 Years, Aung San Suu Kyi Accepts Nobel Peace Prize

Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. But it wasn’t until today that she was finally able to accept the award.

Kyi spent fifteen years under house arrest but was finally able to accept her award today. Kyi gave her acceptance speech at Oslo’s city hall today, telling the crowd that when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 it saved her from personal despair.

Kyi said:

“Often during my days of house arrest, it felt as though I were no longer a part of the real world. There was the house which was my world. There was the world of others who also were not free but who were together in prison as a community and there was the world of the free. Each one was a different planet pursuing its own separate course in an indifferent universe.What the Nobel Peace Prize did was to draw me once again into the world of other human beings, outside the isolated area in which I lived, to restore a sense of reality to me. What was more important, the Nobel Prize had drawn the attention of the world to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. We were not going to be forgotten.”

Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, presented Kyi with her long-awaited award today, calling the activist a leader of “awe-inspiring tenacity, sacrifice and firmness of principle.”

The Telegraph reports that after the ceremony Kyi visited the Nobel Peace Center where an installment called “Mother Democracy” was put on display chronicling her life. On Monday, Kyi will fly to Ireland where Bono and U2 will play a concert in her honor.