3 share Nobel Peace Prize
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of LIberia is Africa's first elected female head of state.
October 7th, 2011
05:48 AM ET

3 share Nobel Peace Prize

This year's Nobel Peace Prize is divided among three women, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen, the Nobel committee in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, announced Friday.

The women were awarded the prize "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work," the committee said.

"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."

Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia's 72-year-old president, is Africa's first elected female head of state. Her political resilience and tough reputation have earned her the nickname "Iron Lady."

She is campaigning for re-election.

Medina Wesseh, chairman of her re-election campaign, told CNN the award was greatly deserved "for all of her life's works and activities, for the women of Africa, for the Liberian people and for the world at large."

The Harvard graduate's commencement address in high school in 1972 sharply criticized the government, a rare defiance in Africa, especially at the time.

Johnson Sirleaf has also worked at the World Bank and the United Nations.

Gbowee, a founder and executive director of Women Peace and Security Network-Africa, was also a recipient in 2009 of the John F Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

She was the focus of the documentary "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," which shows how women confronted Liberian President Charles Taylor with a demand for peace to end a bloody 14-year civil war.

She "mobilized and organized women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia," the Nobel committee said.

And in Yemen, Karman has played a leading role in the struggle for women's rights for democracy and peace, the committee said.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it hoped that the prize will help end suppression of women in many countries and to "realize the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent."

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Filed under: Nobel • World
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. chris

    After Obama won this, who cares, these awards are worthless

    October 7, 2011 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      You're absolutely right. This award has no merit anymore.

      October 7, 2011 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      No merit except it's still considered the worlds highest honour by the majority of the world, it gets more media coverage than any other prize by a great deal, and it includes almost a couple of million dollars. Has it's reputation declined the last decade? Probably has. Questionable decisions? For sure. Still the most prestigious award a human being can get? Definitely.

      October 7, 2011 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. Hawt?

    R they hawwwwttt?

    October 7, 2011 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kwipster

    Snooki was robbed.

    October 7, 2011 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. Barny


    October 7, 2011 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. GOD


    October 7, 2011 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. heitang

    Another year, another farce.

    October 7, 2011 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      I bet you decided to opine that whoever won. These are worthy winners, also indicated by your inability to find and state an actual reason why it's supposedly not a good decision.

      October 7, 2011 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. Henry

    I've got no respect for the Nobel Peace Prize. When I look at the list of people who have won the Nobel Peace Prize, it includes war mongers, terrorists, naive ineffective presidents and assorted misfits who somehow latched onto their 15 minutes worth of fame. I wish Nobel had stuck to Physics, Chemistry and Medicine.

    October 7, 2011 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. Hawt?

    Nobel peace prizes or nobel peace price? or is it a three headed hawwwtttt lady with three bewbz?

    October 7, 2011 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. GOD

    Fuk CNN!!!!!

    October 7, 2011 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dejene Darza

    That is good,this makes all african's & they are good examples for all africans interms of peace.I appreciate them.

    October 7, 2011 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mohammad

    Congratulations to the three women! I always thought that if the world was run by woman we wouldn't have so many bloody conflicts around the world.

    October 7, 2011 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Barny

      You expect that from a beast that bleeds for five days every month and doesn't die?!

      October 7, 2011 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. ditto

    Exactly Chris.... they must've had a brain fart to give it to Obama. How many innocents have been killed by their cowardly bombing campaigns across the globe?! Unbelievable.

    October 7, 2011 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. LL0LL

    This is good, increased influence & rights for women = increased chance for peace !

    October 7, 2011 at 5:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Barny

      What drugs are you on?

      October 7, 2011 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • LL0LL


      October 7, 2011 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. SixDegrees

    Too bad the Peace Prize has been cheapened so badly in recent years. It is now next to meaningless thanks to past awards and nominations.

    October 7, 2011 at 5:47 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Nobel nominations are utterly irrelevant, as the number of people with the right to nominate is staggering, including amongst others all members of parliament in any nation. A nomination can be the work of one wingut representative, and often is. Only the winner counts.

      I shook my head in disbelief at the Obama win too, but the committee has a point when they say that the most important factor was the continuation of nuclear disarmament. George W. Bush halted this process, prompting Russia to reverse it's process of disarmament, and it was a huge and important effort on the Obama administration part to restart it with START etc. Nukes were a more fashionable subject a couple of decades ago, but in a peace perspective, reducing the worlds vaste potential for nuclear holocaust is clearly relevant, and in complete accordance with Nobel's will. I would have given it to somebody else for sure, but the decision is easily defended.

      October 7, 2011 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rasina Winfred Winnie Rasina

    Splendid development!

    October 7, 2011 at 5:48 am | Report abuse |
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