Kim Dae Jung, Architect of the Korean Sunshine Policy, 2000 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

A democracy activist under the repressive Park regime in South Korea, Kim Dae Jung survived three assassination attempts and a death sentence before being elected President of South Korea. He went on to institute the first peace process in history with North Korea.

Kim Dae Jung was first elected to South Korea’s National Assembly in 1961. One month later, Gen. Park Chung-hee seized control of the government through a military coup, voiding the election and launching Kim’s career as a fiery and popular opposition figure.

In 1971, in his first presidential race, Kim won 46 percent of the vote running against Park. A month later, as he was headed to a rally in Seoul, a truck turned directly into the path of his car, forcing him off the road and killing two others in what is widely believed to have been an assassination attempt.

During his decades-long struggle as an opposition leader Kim endured a kidnapping, repeated arrests, beatings, exile and a death sentence before he finally won the presidency in 1997, after the fall of the military government.