News / Africa

2011 Nobel Prize Highlights Women's Role in Peacemaking

Nobel Peace Prize winners Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, left, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, center, and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, right, take the stage at City Hall in in Oslo, Norway, December 10, 2011.
Nobel Peace Prize winners Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, left, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, center, and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, right, take the stage at City Hall in in Oslo, Norway, December 10, 2011.
Alex Villarreal

Africa's first elected female head of state, a Liberian peace activist, and a human rights activist from Yemen are the three female winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize.  When they received the award Saturday in Oslo, Norway, they joined a special group.

A total of 15 women have received the Nobel Peace Prize since it was first awarded in 1901.

The first was Austrian writer and peace activist Bertha von Suttner in 1905.

This year, the Norwegian Nobel Committee split the $1.5 million prize among three women.

African Peace Prize Winners:

  • 2011 - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, Liberia, "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work."
  • 2004 - Wangari Muta Maathai, Kenya, "for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace."
  • 2001 - The United Nations and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Ghana, "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."
  • 1993 - Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk, South Africa, "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa."
  • 1984 - Desmond Mpilo Tutu, South Africa, "to direct attention to the non-violent struggle for liberation to which Desmond Tutu belongs, a struggle in which black and white South Africans unite to bring their country out of conflict and crisis."
  • 1960 - Albert John Lutuli, South Africa, for leading "10 million black Africans in their nonviolent campaign for civil rights."

President Sirleaf became Liberia's first elected female president in 2006.  Fellow Liberian Leymah Gbowee is an activist recognized for uniting women against the country's warlords.  And Tawakkol Karman is a Yemeni journalist and the first Arab woman to receive the prize.

In Oslo for the award ceremony, President Sirleaf called the prize a "wonderful recognition" of the inequalities women have suffered.

"I feel honored to represent them, their own aspirations and expectations for a better world, to be able to recognize the inequities that they have faced in the lack of access to those basic things that allow the comfort of life," said Sirleaf.

The 2011 recipients join an elite group of women winners.

Among them is the late Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic nun who won in 1979 for her humanitarian work.

1991's recipient was Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.  Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi won in 2003.

The most recent woman to receive the prize was Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai in 2004.  Maathai died in September after a long battle with cancer.

Norwegian Nobel panel chairman Thorbjoern Jagland says women are critical to peace.

"We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society," said Jagland.

Women have also won Nobel Prizes in the sciences and literature, with one woman, radiation researcher Marie Curie, honored twice, first in physics and years later in chemistry.

Female Nobel Peace Prize Winners 1905-2011:

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More