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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid