The Nobel Peace prize was awarded on Saturday to three strong women who have proven that peace cannot be reached without the involvement of women – a sentiment echoed by thousands of people walking in a torchlight procession through the streets of downtown Oslo on Saturday night, honoring the three recipients with “No Women! No Peace!”
The prize itself was awarded on Saturday in Oslo’s city hall, with members of the Norwegian Royal family and the Norwegian government present. In her speech, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf spoke of the three recipients’ commitment to change and their universal fight for legal protection and democracy in countries divided by conflicts. She continued by naming several strong women fighting for peace, among those Ang San Suu Kyi, and asked the audience not to forget the importance of women in the progress towards peace and democracy.
Leymah Gbowee, also an activist from Liberia, picked up on Sirleaf’s emphasis on women and said, “This prize comes at a time where ordinary mothers no longer beg for peace, but demand peace, justice, equality and participation in the political desicion-making process.”
The third recipient, Tawakkul Karman of Yemen, spoke of hope and her vision for a new world: “Ladies and gentlemen, peace in a country is not less important that peace between countries. War is not only war between states.”
Johnson, Gbowee and Karman were celebrated with a concert in their honor Sunday night, featuring among others Janelle Monaé, Miatta Fahnbulleh and Norwegian Jarle Bernhoft.