Global Market Data
Global News Journal
Pakistan: Now or Never?
Front Row Washington
The Great Debate
Personal Finance Video
Life & Culture
Nobel Peace Prize honors African, Arab women
Factbox: Winners of the 2011 Nobel Peace prize
Factbox: Last 10 Nobel Peace Prize winners
Nobel peace winner Karman says award is victory
Factbox: Fifteen women have won Peace Prize
Inquisition gone, but path to Nobel still lonely
Ridiculed crystal work wins Nobel for Israeli
Sweden's Transtromer wins Nobel literature prize
Nobel winner's last big experiment: Himself
Factbox: Nobel: The prizes and the man
Secret panel can put Americans on "kill list'
05 Oct 2011
Jobs authorized biography so his kids can know him
Hong Kong teen's somber design for Jobs a cyber hit
06 Oct 2011
Job gains ease recession fears but still weak
Apple's iPhone: still the hottest ticket around
Exclusive: Democrats push tax hikes first in deficit talks
Secret panel can put Americans on ”kill list’
About 400 arrested in Wall Street protest
Children pay for North Korea food crisis
Thu, Oct 6 2011
The inside operation at Occupy Wall Street
Wed, Oct 5 2011
Apple's future without Jobs is unclear
Thu, Oct 6 2011
Nobel Peace Prize honors African, Arab women
Nobel Peace Prize winner Gbowee: "I'm overwhelmed"
Analysis & Opinion
AOL, Yahoo, Demand Media set sights on the ladies
Was South Africa right to deny Dalai Lama a visa?
Liberian president jointly wins Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel honours womens rights
1 of 3. Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee poses in New York, October 7, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
By Gwladys Fouche and Terje Solsvik
Fri Oct 7, 2011 11:35am EDT
OSLO (Reuters) - Declaring women's rights vital for world peace, the Nobel Committee awarded its annual Peace Prize on Friday to three indomitable campaigners against war and oppression -- a Yemeni and two Liberians, including that country's president.
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's first freely elected female head of state, shared the $1.5 million with compatriot Leymah Gbowee, who led a "sex strike" among her efforts against Liberia's civil war, and Arab activist Tawakul Karman, who hailed the award as a victory for democracy in Yemen.
"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," Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland told reporters.
Johnson-Sirleaf, 72 and once dubbed the "Iron Lady" by opponents, is running for a second term in an election on Tuesday where she faces criticism for not having done enough to heal the divisions of years of civil war. Jagland dismissed suggestions the award might seem to be meddling in the vote.
But the former Norwegian prime minister said that honoring Yemen's protesters, who unlike those in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are still battling to get rid of their ruler, sent a signal from Oslo that President Ali Abdullah Saleh, long a U.S. ally, and other Arab autocrats should now step down.
It is a message that the era of Arab dictators was over, Karman told Reuters in Sanaa, declaring her prize a victory for Yemen and for all of the uprisings of the Arab Spring.
The trio of laureates follow only a dozen other women among 85 men, as well as a number of organizations, to have won the prize over its 110-year history.
The Committee said it hoped the three-way award "will help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realize the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent."
ARAB SPRING HONORED
Recognizing Karman, a 32-year-old journalist and mother who was detained for a time during the unrest, was seen as a gesture of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's wider approval for the Arab Spring protest movements, which had been heavily tipped to win the prize for their young street campaigners.
"In the most trying circumstances, both before and during the Arab Spring, Tawakul Karman has played a leading part in the struggle for women's rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen," the Nobel citation read.
Egyptian activist Asmaa Mahfouz, who had been nominated, said: "Giving it to Yemen means giving it to the Arab Spring, and this is an honor to all of us and to all Arab states."
The committee said all three women were rewarded from the bequest left by Swedish dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel for "their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."
It noted that Johnson-Sirleaf had led the way for women to lead African states and that Gbowee, 39, had mobilized women across ethnic and religious lines to bring an end to the war in Liberia and ensure their participation in elections.
Her brother, Alphonso Diamond Gbowee, told Reuters: "I am so excited that her relentlessness to ensure the development of women and children in our region has been recognized.
"She's very hard-working, helping with women and children all over the place, especially in Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone ... This will be a challenge for her to do more. I have no doubt she'll continue to impact those vulnerable lives."
Speaking by telephone from Monrovia, Johnson-Sirleaf's son James told Reuters: "I am over-excited. This is very big news and we have to celebrate."
Johnson-Sirleaf was Liberia's finance minister, then suffered jail and fled the country as it descended into one of Africa's bloodiest civil wars, serving as a World Bank economist before going home and winning the presidency in 2005.
Gbowee's Women For Peace movement is credited by some for bringing an end to the civil war in 2003. The movement started humbly in 2002 when Gbowee organized a group of women to sing and pray for an end to fighting in a fish market.
She is the subject of an award-winning documentary film "Pray the Devil Back to Hell."
"Whatever they achieved today has been done along with all Liberian women," Liberia's minister for gender and development Vabah Gayflor told Reuters.
"It is something that all Liberian women will be proud of ... Women all over Africa and the world will be proud."
The prize will be presented in Oslo on December 10.
(Additional reporting by Victoria Klesty, Walter Gibbs, John Acher, Joachim Dagenborg, Camilla Knudsen and Alastair Macdonald in Oslo, Richard Valdmanis and Mark John in Dakar, Alphonso Toweh and Clair MacDougall in Monrovia, Yasmine Saleh in Cairo, Andrew Hammond in Dubai and Samia Nakhoul in London; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Terje Solsvik)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
That’s certainly one easy Nobel price to get, isn’t it? Odumbo didn’t eve do this much to get his. I guess I’ll have to find mine in a box of cracker-jacks.
Oct 07, 2011 6:28am EDT -- Report as abuse
“Johnson-Sirleaf, 72 and once dubbed the “Iron Lady” by opponents, is running for a second term in an election on Tuesday where she faces criticism for not having done enough to heal the divisions of years of civil war.”
ironically, she won the nobel peace prize for failing to bring peace. oh yeah she’s a woman. that means she automatically deserves it
Oct 07, 2011 7:41am EDT -- Report as abuse
These days the Nobel prize is a political message and a joke.
Oct 07, 2011 8:22am EDT -- Report as abuse
See All Comments »
Add Your Comment
Social Stream (What's this?)
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Advertise With Us
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.