Names in the news, Dec. 19

Posted Dec. 09, 2011, at 5:43 p.m.

The three 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureates on Friday said they hoped to inspire other women to aspire to become leaders in the struggle for peace and justice. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Tawakkul Karman  and Leymah Gbowee spoke at a joint press conference in Norway, ahead of the awards ceremony that will take place at the Oslo City Hall on Saturday. Johnson-Sirleaf, who was recently re-elected as president of Liberia said the women of her country had “carried the burden of conflicts.” Johnson-Sirleaf, who took office in 2006, three years after the end of a 14-year-long civil war, said she intended to work to help young girls “reach their potential in life.” Karman, a Yemeni pro-democracy activist and the first Arab woman to win the Peace Prize, said it signaled “the period where women were victims had ended” and said the Nobel Committee would “not regret” its choice. “We will participate to create a new world that means peace, equal participation, love, helping and working with each other.” Gbowee, an activist from Liberia who is based in Ghana, said she would return home to work for reconciliation, accepting an offer from the president to head a peace commission. Gbowee has in recent years headed the Ghana-based group Women Peace and Security Network Africa. She said the “real celebration” would be “20 years from now, when we see a thousand young women or 2,000 young women globally say, ‘We are leaders because in 2011 we saw three women [win the Nobel Peace Prize], we got inspired, we got challenged.’” The Nobel Peace Prize endowed by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite, is worth $1.4 million. It was only the second time in its 110-year-old history that the prize was shared by three people.

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