Aung San Suu Kyi has told how happy memories of life at Oxford University helped her cope with many challenges during her 24 years of house arrest in Burma when she was separated from her husband and children.
The pro-democracy campaigner read philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at St Hugh's College between 1964 and 1967, and spent much of the 1980s living in the city with her partner, Tibetan scholar Michael Aris, and their two sons, Kim and
The Burmese opposition leader has now returned to Oxford for the first time in decades to receive an honorary degree in civil law.
Speaking at the prestigious annual Encaenia ceremony, she said: "During the most difficult years, I was upheld by memories of Oxford.
"Those were among the most important inner resources that helped me to cope with all the challenges I had to face."
Many of the memories were simple ones, she said, such as "summer days like these, reading on the lawn at St Hugh's" and "being in the library not looking at a book but out of the window".
"But those were very good memories as I had lived a happy life," she said. "It helped me to understand the people of Burma, who wanted to live a happy life and had never been given the opportunity to live one."
Twenty four years after she left for what she thought would be but days or weeks, the Burmese champion of democracy was cheered by locals and the Burmese diaspora as she made her way to the Sheldonian Theatre to collect a degree awarded in absentia back in 1993.
Having entered her name in the Honorary Degree Book, taking its place beside six centuries of world leaders and people of influence, she waited outside the Divinity School as the strains of God Save The Queen filtered through.
It was a song that could well have been written for her by generations of her fellow Burmese.
As she walked across the flagstones to the ceremony proper a gust of wind caught her scarlet academic gown. It parted to reveal traditional Burmese dress.
She may have lived in England, been educated in Oxford, and speak with a Western accent, but she has always carried her homeland in her heart.
And so it was in her address - an honour rarely granted to degree recipients.
She spoke of her desire to see democratic change - but her ambition was clearly tempered with more than a tinge of realism.
She said: "The road ahead is not going to be easy, but Oxford I know expects the best of its own, and today because they have recognised me as its very own I am strengthened to go forward and give my very best in meeting the new challenges that lie ahead."
On this tour, Suu Kyi has often been spoken of in the same breath as figures such as Nelson Mandela, or Mahatma Ghandi.
And this honorary degree, like the many others she's been awarded over the years, has been given in recognition of the stoicism, fortitude, and commitment to non-violent opposition in the face of often brutal treatment by the military regime.
Yet unlike Gandhi and Mandela, Suu Kyi has yet to achieve real democratic change in a country whose rulers have long resisted it.
It is an arguably more difficult challenge. Since her election, she is no longer the outsider.
Now part of the establishment, she will be called on to contribute to discussions on how to rescue Burma's ailing economy.
On this trip she has spoken of her desire for substantial constitutional reform, yet the most pressing problems her nation faces stem from sanctions, and sectarian and ethnic division leading to bloody violence.
This has been a trip on which emotion and adoration have been everyday occurrences - yet there has been a poignancy to today's events.
Oxford was for many years the place she made her home with Mr Aris. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1995, later found to be terminal.
He could not travel into Burma to see her as the authorities would not grant a visa; she could not leave as the authorities would surely have prevented her return.
He died in 1999 - years after they had last been in each other's company.
Such memories will no doubt make bittersweet what would otherwise have been a triumphant return to Oxford.
:: On Tuesday, Suu Kyi met former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis, who she says provided her with a lifeline while she was under house arrest.