Noble Peace Prize Awarded to Three Women Leaders

Crystal Fraioli, Contributing Writer

photograph courtesy of WomensVoicesForChange

On Friday October 7, the Nobel Committee announced the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipients. This year, the award has been given to three women activists, making it the first time in seven years since a woman has won the award.

The first woman, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, is a member of the Women Peace and Security Network in Africa. She has organized peace initiatives for nine out of the 15 Liberian counties. Gbowee has made peaceful relations between hundreds of women despite ethnic and religious divisions. The second woman, pro-democracy campaigner Tawakkol Karman from Yemen, is seen as the “Mother of the Revolution.” She is attempting to change the government and her activists have set up a transitional government, though they have not yet been recognized. The third is Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is the first woman to be elected to lead an African nation in modern Africa history. She had Liberia forgiven of their debts and changed the image of the country as a whole. These three women are being awarded for their efforts in spearheading women’s rights in African and Arab societies.

On December 10, in Oslo, Norway, the three women will receive their awards. This day marks the 115th anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel. In life, Nobel was a quiet, self-educated man who never married. He put all of his efforts into experimenting with explosions. In life, his claim to fame was the invention of dynamite, but in death his claim to fame was even greater. His last will, written in 1895, a year before he died, became his legacy. The will stated that 94 percent of his worth would go towards establishing the Nobel Prizes for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace.

Five years later, in 1901, the Nobel Foundation awarded the first five prizes to “those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” Nobel did not see peace during his life, but in death he has awarded others for striving for a peaceful world.

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