Three female leaders share this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for their activism in Liberia and Yemen. “Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the president of Liberia and Africa’s first female head of state, shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with fellow countryman Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni activist Tawakul Karman, the committee’s solitary nod to the Arab Spring.” Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf is credited with rebuilding her nation after a devastating 12-year civil war. In a break with tradition, her political allies have not recognized her as deserving.
What’s the Big Idea?
Tawakul Karman has campaigned against injustice in Yemen for years and observers say her award is the Nobel committee’s nod to the achievement of the Arab Spring. “Mrs Karman yesterday dedicated her prize to ‘all the activists of the Arab Spring’, saying it was ‘a victory for the Yemeni revolution and the peaceful character of this revolution.'” This year’s prize has attracted fewer opponents than in recent years, with China leading a 19-state boycott of the 2010 ceremony for dissident Liu Xiaobo and the controversy over Barack Obama in 2009.