UNDP salutes Nobel Laureates

Oct 7, 2011

Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (left) with Helen Clark during the UNDP Administrator's visit to Liberia in June 2009. (Photo: UNDP)

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, compatriot Leymah Gbowee, and Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman were jointly awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peacebuilding work.

“We salute the 2011 Nobel Laureates Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman,” said Helen Clark, chief of the United Nations Development Programme. “They show us what can be achieved when women participate and take on decision making roles, and they serve as an example for us all.”

“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,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in their announcement.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa’s first democratically elected female president, and a former head of UNDP in Africa.  She is widely praised for her role as a champion for women and development, as well as her contributions towards peace in Liberia.

Leyman Gbowee is an activist who has mobilized women to boost the peace process in Liberia, while Tawakkul Karman has been at the forefront of the campaign for women’s rights and democracy in Yemen.

This brings to 15 the number of women who have received the Nobel Peace Prize since it was first conferred in 1901.

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