2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winners illustrated:
* activist LEYMAH GBOWEE of Liberia
* Liberian President ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF
* rights activist TAWAKULL KARMEN of Yemen.
According to the Nobel committee in Oslo, these 3 women were chosen "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work. 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."
LEYMAH GBOWEE helped organize and then lead the Liberian Mass Action for Peace which confronted the country's president, changed the infrastructure of men and women in her country, and brought an end to the Liberian Civil War in 2003. Their demonstrations culminated in his exile and the election of Africa's first female head of state Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (also a Nobel winner) . She was the central character in the 2008 documentary filmPray the Devil Back to Hell.
Here is a Must-See 5 minute introductory video about Leymah Gbowee. LEYMAH VIDEO
(I could NOT EMBED THIS VIDEO unfortunately! PLEASE click to watch!)
Liberian President ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF, knicknamed the "Iron Lady," was the world's first elected black female president (2006) and is the first and only elected female head of state in Africa. She has declared a zero tolerance policy against corruption and has made education free for all children. She said the peace that had ended 14 years of civil war should be attributed to the country's women who stood up against the former dictatorship. "My sisters, my daughters, my friends," she says,"find your voice."
For a lighter look at Ellen Johnson Sirleaf....See her here on THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART
Rights activist TAWAKKUL KARMEN of Yemen is the first Arab woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. She is the president of Women Journalists Without Chains, a group campaigning for press freedom, and the public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprisings. Karmen has fought for human rights and the rights of women in a conservative Muslim and tribal society.
A Must-See look at Karmen in action! Tawakul Karmen VIDEO
(Again, this I'm not able to EMBED THIS VIDEO. Please click and watch!)
Who chooses the Nobel Peace Prize anyway, and why does it matter?
* Exposure matters. We may not have studied these 3 particular women's actions if we just saw their names in passing, now we're moved, inspired, and even changed.
* The award consists of a cash prize of $1.4 million.
Nominations are made from lawmakers around the world, university professors, previous Nobel laureates, and members of the Nobel committee (made up of 5 Norwegians chosen by their country's parliament).
The Nobel Peace Prize was created by Alfred Nobel, the Swedish scientist and industrialist.
(Illustrations by me)