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Sirleaf 'Humbled' By Nobel Peace Prize

Liberian President and presidential candidate of the Unity Party (UP) Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf walks at her residence in Monrovia October 7, 2011.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says she felt "humbled" by her Nobel Peace Prize recognition, but welcomed the honor as recognition of a long struggle to achieve peace in her West African nation.

She spoke to VOA's James Butty Friday in Monrovia:

James Butty's interview with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf:

“I’m very excited. I’m very thankful. And I’m also humbled to have this award. I believe it is recognition of my many years of struggle," Sirleaf said. "But I also believe it is recognition of the Liberian people’s quest for peace. And the fact that the past 8 years they have all collectively maintained the peace.

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 "ten million black Africans in their nonviolent campaign for civil rights."

"I particularly want to talk about Liberian women. I am getting this award with Leymah Gbowee. And Leymah Gbowee is very deserving because she mobilized women to challenge a dictatorship - market women, rural women, professional woman, church women - and they sat in the rain and the sun for days advocating for peace.

"We owe it to African women and we can just recommit to working harder for equal opportunity for all women to reach their potential. I hope we become the role models and that that will motivate and inspire women the world over to go for leadership, to take a greater role in their societies.

"I’m just honored. I am so grateful.”

Female Nobel Peace Prize winners 1905-2011: