3 Women Accept Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo

Posted December 10th, 2011 at 1:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Two women from Liberia and one from Yemen who fought injustice, oppression and sexual violence against women were awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Saturday at a ceremony in Norway's capital, Oslo.

Facing a standing ovation of admirers, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni women's rights advocate Tawakkul Karman were handed their prestigious medals in the lavishly decorated Oslo city hall.

Norwegian Nobel Committee president Thorbjoern Jagland told the women they represent the struggle for “human rights in general and of women for equality and peace in particular.”

Mrs. Sirleaf became Africa's first democratically elected female president in 2005, and has been applauded for her efforts to secure peace and strengthen the position of women in Liberia.

Leyman Gbowee, also from Liberia, helped end her country's 14-year civil war by encouraging women to participate in a series of non-violent demonstrations.

Tawakkul Karman, an activist and journalist in Yemen, is the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and at 32, is the youngest person to receive the award. She is credited for her leading role in the struggle for women's rights and for democracy and peace in her country, which has been wracked by demonstrations and violence this year.

The three women will share an award of nearly $1.5 million.

The other Nobel Prize winners — in medicine, chemistry, physics and literature and economics — were presented their medals in a separate ceremony in Stockholm.

Notably absent from the event was one of three winners of the Nobel Medicine Prize, Ralph Steinman, who died of cancer in October just days before the medicine prize was announced.

An exception was made to the Nobel rules against posthumous awards because the jury wasn't aware of Steinman's passing prior to him being selected. His wife, Claudia Steinman, accepted the prize on his behalf.