Aung San Suu Kyi: Photos through the years

Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi poses for a portrait at the National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Rangoon on Dec. 8, 2010, in Rangoon, Burma, also known as Myanmar. On the evening of Nov. 13,  2010, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been detained for 15 of the past 21 years.</p>

Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi poses for a portrait at the National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Rangoon on Dec. 8, 2010, in Rangoon, Burma, also known as Myanmar. On the evening of Nov. 13, 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been detained for 15 of the past 21 years.

In what is being seen as a sign of fast change in Burma, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi announced Friday that she will re-enter Burmese politics and run for parliament in the country's next by-election. The announcement raises hopes among pro-democracy supporters that Burma (also known as Myanmar) is progressing toward substantial political reforms after decades of tight-gripped rule.

The decision for Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party to register to run in the next set of elections is also seen as validation of the current government's steps toward reform, according to BBC.  The NLD boycotted elections last year after Suu Kyi was banned from entering the race.

More from GlobalPost: Aung San Suu Kyi to run for parliament

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton will be traveling to Burma next month in the first visit by a US secretary of state in 50 years.

Suu Kyi has spent 15 of the last 22 years under house arrest in Burma, but she has remained a strong proponent of bringing democracy to her home country and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

More from GlobalPost: Hillary Clinton to visit Burma

Click through the slideshow above to take a look at the pro-democracy leader through the years.

Discussion: What do you think of the changes happening in Burma? Will Suu Kyi be able to make a difference? Should Clinton visit? Send us your opinion on the developments in Burma. We'll publish the most thoughtful ones.

To read more about Burma and its recent progress, check out Burma Rebooted, a three-part series by GlobalPost correspondent Patrick Winn.