TransAfrica applauds the awarding of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and Yemeni pro-democracy advocate Tawakkol Karman. By awarding the Peace Prize to these three outstanding women, the Nobel Committee is acknowledging the increasing strides that women are achieving in leadership roles worldwide—particularly in Africa and the Middle East. This year’s award also illustrates the importance of various sectors in society and at various stages in achieving peace.
President Sirleaf of Liberia—the first elected African woman president—since assuming the highest in January 2006, has peacefully stewarded a country which experienced civil strife much of the 1990s and early 21st century. Another Liberian, Ms. Leymah Gbowee, in the civil society arena tireless mobilized women during the civil war and dictatorship in Liberia in to ensure that peace was attained in the country. Ms. Gbowee’s work of uniting various groups in Liberia was mostly done in the trenches—without the spotlight of the international community. Years before the media placed a spotlight on the social justice movement in North Africa and the Middle East, Ms. Tawakkol Karman of Yemen was organizing weekly protests at a square in Sanaa, Yemen.