News / Africa

Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Trio of Liberian, Yemeni Women

Africa's first democratically elected female president, a Liberian peace activist and a woman who stood up to Yemen's authoritarian regime won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday Oct. 7, 2011 for their work to secure women's rights, which the prize committee
Africa's first democratically elected female president, a Liberian peace activist and a woman who stood up to Yemen's authoritarian regime won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday Oct. 7, 2011 for their work to secure women's rights, which the prize committee

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."

For the first time in Nobel Peace Prize history, the prestigious honor has gone to a group of women, in honor of women.

On Friday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni peace activist Tawakkul Karman with the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

"Ladies and gentleman, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 is to be divided in three equal parts between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman for their non-violent struggle, for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Mrs. Sirleaf is Africa’s first democratically-elected woman president. Gbowee is known for uniting women against Liberia’s warlords. And Karman is a Yemeni journalist and an outspoken human rights activist.

The Harvard-educated Liberian president took office in 2006, putting women’s rights at the top of her agenda. She said that she owes the award to African women.

"I am very excited, thankful and humbled," Sirleaf said."I believe it is a recognition of many years of struggle but I also believe it is a recognition of the Liberian people quest for peace."

James Butty's interview with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf:

 

 

 

 

 

Her co-honoree, Gbowee, expressed hope for the country.

"I am a symbol of hope in my community, on the continent, in a place where there is little to be hopeful for," she said. "If you are a symbol of hope, you don't do it because you are expecting a reward. You do it because you are expected to do so and there are people that are relying a depending on you in your community.''

The 2011 Nobel prize is meant to illustrate the importance of women in the peace process, said the Norwegian Nobel panel chairman Thorbjoern Jagland.

"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," Jagland said.

On Friday in Sana'a, Karman reacted to receiving the Nobel award.

Tawakkul Karman:

  • Karman of Yemen first Arab woman to win Nobel Peace Prize
  • Mother of three from flashpoint city of Taiz a key figure in anti-government protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh
  • Leader of Women Journalists Without Chains human rights group

"I am very, very happy about this prize and I give the prize to the Arab revolutions and to the peaceful youth revolution in Yemen and the Yemeni people," she said. "I also dedicate this prize to the martyrs and wounded people from peaceful revolutions."

For the women of the Arab Spring, this award gives them the support of the international community. Human Rights Watch researcher Nadya Khalife reacted to the news from her home in Lebanon.

"Fortunately, these three woman have shown that with patience and perseverance anything can really happen," she said. "They really have set an example that the whole world can learn from."

An example the Nobel committee hopes will inspire the women of the Middle East and bring an end to the suppression of women worldwide.

arman

Female Nobel Peace Prize Winners 1905-2011:

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
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 Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
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 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.

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