The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Friday to three women rights activists from Africa and the Arab world for their "non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights."
The winners were Africa’s first elected female president, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemen’s pro-democracy campaigner Tawakul Karman.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 72, who became Africa's first democratically elected female president in in 2005, was chosen for her efforts to secure peace, promote economic and social development and improve women’s rights in her country.
Another Liberian, 39-year-old Leymah Gbowee, encouraged Christian and Muslim women to play a more active role in the country’s political life by mobilizing them to take part in non-violent protests and sit-ins.
Tawakkul Karman 32-year-old Arab Spring activist and journalist from Yemen was noted for her achievements “in the struggle for women's rights and for democracy and peace."
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said the award was an “acknowledgement of achievements of women, who struggle for their rights and democracy worldwide.”
Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland praised the work of the three laureates, saying that "we cannot achieve lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men."
The three women will share the prize of one million euro (about $1.5 million) at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10. The remaining four Nobel Prizes will be awarded in Stockholm on December 10.