By Samuel Burke, CNN
Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the world's most revered advocates for democracy.
The repressive military regime in Myanmar kept her isolated from the world, under house arrest for almost twenty years.
In the last year her struggle finally paid off.
The country's new president, Thein Sein, freed her from detention and instituted a series of economic and political reforms – allowing her to win a seat in parliament this year.
Suu Kyi is now working with President Thein Sein – one of the ruling generals who kept her under house arrest.
“I’ve never thought that what they did to me was personal. It is politics. And if you decide to go into politics, you have to be prepared to put up with these kinds of problems. I like a lot of the generals. I’m rather inclined to liking people,” she said. That includes, surprisingly, the very people who prevented her from seeing your husband and her children.
“I think it’s perfectly natural for me to feel this way,” she says. “I’ve always got on with people in the army; you mustn't forget that my father was the Founder of the Burmese army. This is why I have a soft spot for them even though I don't like what they do – that’s different from not liking them.”
She says she’s encouraged by her work in the legislature.
“We have a speaker who is very fair-minded and who treats us like a proper opposition, in spite of our very, very small numbers.”
This year she was finally able to collect the Nobel Peace Prize she won back in 1991.
This week Suu Kyi was in Washington to meet with President Obama. She received a hero's welcome at the U.S. Congress, where she accepted a congressional gold medal.
The ceremony was broadcast at home in Myanmar - the first time that the state broadcaster aired footage of Suu Kyi overseas.
She says she appreciates the accolades, but can also be embarrassed by it.
“It doesn’t seem right for anybody to get so much attention.”
Suu Kyi believes the U.S. should now have a waiver on some of their sanctions against Myanmar. She contends that the sanctions were politically very effective, but disagrees with those who claim they had a severe, negative effect.
“Of course it wasn’t sanctions alone that brought about the reforms but I think sanctions played a very, very important part.”
On the personal impact of her house arrest, she says she can’t make up the years she lost with her sons when they were children. She denies reports that she’s estranged from son Alexander.
“You can’t make it up to them as children, because they’re no longer children and they probably wouldn’t like me to treat them as children anymore… So I think what I would simply wish to do is to learn to have a good relationship with them across the distance that separates us.”
CNN’s Ken Olshansky produced this piece for television.