Wai Wai Nu

Wai Wai Nu is a Rohingya former political prisoner from Myanmar. At the age of 16, she was given a place at the University of East Yangon to study law.

However, at the age of 18, Wai Wai was arrested and sentenced to 17 years in prison, together with her mother, sister, and brother, for supporting and promoting the idea of a democratic Myanmar. Wai Wai’s father had been a member of Parliament, and was sentenced to 47 years in solitary confinement. In 2012, after seven years in prison, Wai Wai and her family were released under a presidential amnesty for political prisoners.

Wai Wai formed the Women’s Peace Network in 2012 after her release, and used the organisation as a platform to promote peace and mutual understanding between Myanmar’s different ethnicities, with specific focus on the advocating marginalised women’s rights. In this role, she has conduced women’s empowerment trainings, offered legal education seminars, and organized human rights and peacebuilding activities.

Since 2012, Wai Wai has founded and directer the Yangon Youth Leadership Centre (2015), and has taken the position of Campaign Manager of the My Friend Campaign (2015). As well as this, she has completed her law degree and has co-founded and become the legal consultant for Justice for Women (2013). Wai Wai has also taken part in the inaugural class of a training program for young leaders at the George W. Bush Centre (2015), and in the same year was named one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine. In 2016, she was named as one of 100 inspiring women by Salt Magazine, and in 2017, she was named one of the Next Generation Leaders by Time Magazine.

Wai Wai is internationally recognised as an empowering human rights activist and has been awarded with the Hillary Clinton Award from Georgetown University in 2018, and has delivered a lecture at the Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Lecture as part of the University of Michigan’s upcoming Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit in 2018, as well as speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum in 2017. Wai Wai is also an advocate for the United Nations on the human rights situation in Myanmar.