Written with Tristan Topps
Friday was truly a day of celebration! Throughout this past week the 2011 Nobel Prize recipients have been announced in each respective category. As ambassador to for the United States of the NOPPAW Walking Africa Campaign, I received notification Friday morning that the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize has been jointly awarded to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, peace activist, Leymah Gbowee, also of Liberia, and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work".
President Johnson Sirleaf and Ms. Gbowee are two of the women who represented the entire continent of Africa in the Walking Africa Campaign.
I have been extremely passionate over the past several months about raising awareness for this cause in the hope that the Noel Prize committee would award the Peace Prize to African Women as a whole. While the women of Africa were not awarded the prize as a whole, this honor is something that is certainly worth celebrating!
President Johnson Sirleaf is currently up for re-election and during her tenure thus far she has worked tirelessly to bring peace and security to her country. While the country still has a long way to go President Johnson Sirleaf's efforts are greatly appreciated and have not gone unnoticed. She shares the belief that Africa is on the brink of a breakthrough. Women in across the continent are doing great things and it's only a matter of time before more women take over positions of power in other African countries.
Ms. Gbowee's work has been rooted in uniting both Christian and Muslim women to fight against warlords throughout Liberia. She serves as the head of the Women for Peace movement. War had been prevalent within the country for years and it takes a strong woman to be able to bring together ethnic and religious cultures for one common cause that ultimately benefits the entire country. The end result of her dedication, women were granted the right to participate in the political process.
We cannot discount the work that Ms. Karman has done in her home country of Yemen. As a human rights activist she, along with several college students, demanded the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and she was incarcerated for a brief time earlier this year. She has served as an inspiration for others in Yemen.
I am thrilled, ecstatic, and elated. This is a momentous step forward for women not just in Africa and Yemen but for women around the world. It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of this extraordinary campaign. I express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all of our supporters and to the Nobel Prize committee for recognizing this most nobel of causes. On behalf of the NOPPAW Walking Africa campaign and women around the world... Thank You!
Read the original press release from The NOPPAW Organization:
"Thank you for your support during these months of the Noppaw campaign (Nobel Peace Prize for African Women) and the contribution that you have given in different ways to sustain this proposal. In the next months many initiatives are and you are all invited to participate again with the same enthusiasm and involvement.
This assignment has demonstrated that women are indeed the backbone of Africa and that all the women worldwide are committed to peace building and to developing a democratic society. We will continue to work to enhance and promote the fundamental role of all women. "
- NOPPAW Campaign
Peace has the Face of African Women!
Rome, October 7, 2011 - The Nobel Peace Prize 2011 is awarded to two African women and a Yemeni one, the President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, hes compatriot Leymah Gbowee and the Yemeni civil rights activist Tawakkul Karman "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work". Three icons that represent all women that celebrate today the recognition of their daily commitment to peace! Women are indeed the backbone of Africa!
"We are very happy for the attribution of the prize which was decided unanimously by the Committee in Oslo," commented Guido Barbera, President of Solidarity and Cooperation Cipsi and Eugenio Melandri, coordinator of the association Chiama l'Africa, "a recognition of the pivotal role women play in Africa and worldwide, particularly in developing countries." And again: "We can not get democracy and peace in the world if women can not get the same opportunities as men to influence the development of society" .
The Promoters of Walking Africa will organize a day of celebration on December 10th, International Day of Human Rights the same date of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. On that day, we invite all of you who have supported the campaign to take this celebration to the streets!