Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and two others win the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011

(OSLO, Norway (Wires) – The Nobel Committee has jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 to three indomitable women: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her compatriot Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni Tawakkul Karman. The trio were honoured “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

President Sirleaf is the first female elected head of state in Africa. Cordially known as Liberia’s “Iron lady”, she is an Economist who is seen by many as a peacemaker and reformer. The Committee was swayed especially because she “contributed to securing peace in Liberia, to promoting economic and social development, and to strengthening the position of women.”

Her compatriot Leymah Gbowee was cited for her peace activism during the war. She “mobilized and organized women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia, and to ensure women’s participation in elections.  She has since worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war.”

The third Laureate, who received the news while in camped in a protest camp in Yemen was highly praised because in “the most trying circumstances, both before and during the “Arab spring”, Tawakkul Karman has played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen.”

President Sirleaf and Mrs. Gbowee are jointly the second African women to win the Nobel Peace Prize after the late Professor Wangari wa Maathai (1938 – 2011) from Kenya who won it in 2004. The Committee noted “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.

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