The Elders congratulate ‘outstanding’ Nobel Peace Laureates Leymah Gbowee, Tawakul Karman and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

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Friday, 7 October, 2011
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On the day that the 2011 Nobel Peace Laureates are announced, The Elders give their reactions, commending the decision to recognise the important role women play in resolving conflict and building peaceful societies.

The Elders are delighted that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 has been awarded to peace activists Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. They offer their warmest congratulations to the three Nobel Peace Laureates and commend the Nobel Committee for selecting three outstanding women "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building".

The Elders have long advocated equality between women and men in all aspects of life – with particular emphasis on ensuring that women play an equal role with men in conflict resolution and peace-building. The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 acknowledges the leadership of women as powerful agents of change.

Martti Ahtisaari  

“I am very pleased with the decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,” said Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and 2008 Nobel Peace Laureate.

“All three women deserve the recognition for their accomplishments in the field of women's rights. It is of great importance to emphasise the need for women's participation in conflict resolution and peace processes.”

Ela Bhatt  

“This is great news!” said Ela Bhatt, founder of India's million-strong Self Employed Women's Association.

“The Nobel Peace Prize 2011 is an encouragement for all women worldwide. I congratulate the Nobel Peace Prize winners and wish them and their teams very fruitful yields in the coming years… The power that women have gained through these three leaders will never be robbed by anybody bringing peace to the world.”

Gro Brundtland  

Former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Brundtland welcomed the Nobel Committee's choice:

“Women, human rights, peace and democracy, they are all there! We should really applaud this decision.”

Fernando H Cardoso  

Fernando H Cardoso, former President of Brazil said:

“Three women Nobel Peace Prize winners! What a recognition for women's leadership in human rights and peace making! Women are changing the world!”

Graça Machel  

Graça Machel, former Education Minister of Mozambique and an international advocate for women's and children's rights said:

“Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to three outstanding women from Liberia and Yemen is a recognition that while women pay the highest price in conflicts – they are equally leaders in peace-making and rebuilding their nations. My sincere congratulations to them all.”

Mary Robinson  

As Mary Robinson, former Irish President and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said:

“Today's announcement by the Nobel Peace Prize committee is a great celebration of women's leadership. I am delighted that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to three women who have led with such courage and determination to address injustices in their homelands.

“What has been acknowledged by this award is the leadership of women who insisted on coming out of conflict into peace; who insisted on their right to be heard. Their achievements show us how women in leadership roles can be powerful agents of change.”

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