The Nobel Women’s Initiative is thrilled to announce the addition of two new Nobel Peace Laureates!
2011 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipients Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman have joined the Nobel Women’s Initiative, in partnership with fellow Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, and honorary member Aung San Suu Kyi.
Leymah Gbowee is an inspiring Liberian activist specializing in peacebuilding and women’s rights. After her country erupted in civil war in 1989, Leymah took action by training as a trauma counselor to treat former child soldiers. The war ended in 1996 only to be followed by a second civil war in 1999. Tired of witnessing violence and brutality, Leymah mobilized women across religious and ethnic divides in the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace movement. Her fearless efforts were successful in forcing warlord President Charles Taylor into exile and paving the way for the election of Africa’s first female head of state, fellow Peace Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Tawakkol Karman is an inspirational peace activist in her native Yemen and the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient at the age of 32. In 2005, she founded the organization Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) to advocate for rights and freedoms of the press and to report on injustice in Yemen. Shortly after founding WJWC, Tawakkol began organizing large-scale protests to bring an end to violence and human rights violations in her country. Her weekly protests targeted systematic government repression and called for inquiries into corruption. When the Arab Spring swept over North Africa and Western Asia, Tawakkol redirected her supporters and brought the Spring to Yemen. Her persistence and bold, outspoken nature resulted in Yemen’s President Ali-Abdullah Saleh resigning in 2011.
The Nobel Women’s Initiative is very excited to have these inspiring and courageous women Laureates on board. Tawakkol and Leymah are perfect examples of how ordinary women can harness nonviolent protest to create peace, justice, and equality in their communities. We look forward to working with Tawakkol and Leymah to magnify the power and visibility of women activists around the globe!