After the birth of my daughter, the happiest days of my life were when microcredit pioneer, Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, and Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America. Now, once again the sagesse of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo has made me proud to be an American. Today, Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, and I can only imagine how very very proud his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, would have been of her son, yet again. I had tears in my eyes when I stood on the balcony in the town hall in Oslo three years ago and watched Muhammad Yunus receive the Peace Prize. Women and microcredit organizations around the world were so very proud to share in that special moment. Now, they can be proud once again, as the son of a very special woman.
This man represents not only hope for America, but for a better more just future for all the world. And that is, in part, because he deeply knows and understands the world. And that is due, not in small part, to his mother, who was not only a true American in the deepest sense of the word, but dedicated to making this world a better place. Like Muhammad Yunus, Ann Dunham dedicated her life to helping alleviate poverty and to women's role in making better lives for future generations. As a mother, she exemplified the best in terms of giving her children access to top level education and life experiences. As he daughter, Maya Soetero has said, her mother's collection of dolls from around the world was like their own personal United Nations. Her children speak various languages and because of their mother's big heart and deep compassion for others, their family resembles this world and reaches across many continents.
I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with several people who were friends of, and worked alongside Ann Dunham. They too are so very proud not only of her accomplishments, but those of her son. They only wish she could have been here to share this with him and his family. This woman worked behind the scenes as many others do every single day, to help people help themselves out of poverty. Yet Ann Dunham also loved life and lived it to its fullest. As a single mother, I find in her an inspiration for how to live with integrity, and even when I do not succeed, her high standards remind me that it can be done. I know that she represents so many women and mothers she helped in Indonesia and elsewhere, living in conditions which few of us can only imagine, to build better lives and change the course of the world.
So a huge Bravo to President Obama and I know that he will be thinking of his mother as he receives the highest honor our world can bestow on a living human being. It is a global recognition of not only the hope he brings but what the future can become. And Thank You Ann Dunham for Being a World Class, Nobel level mother, as your actions, your life, and the life that you gave, are bringing Peace to this Planet.
Vivian Norris de Montaigu, PhD and Gloria Origgi, PhD-CNRS are based in Paris and have beann shooting a documentary last summer on how Ann Dunham's life mirrors the social and cultural changes of her times.