TAWAKUL KARMAN

WIFE, MOTHER, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE Tawakul Karman is one of three women winners of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, the others are Leymanh Gbowee and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf both of Liberia. She is the first Yemeni, the second Arab woman and youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Laureate to date. The first being Mairead Maguire (born 27 January 1944), was a co-recipient of the award in 1976. In 2003, Shirin Ebadi was the first Persian woman and first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Before the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded, only 12 other women had ever been recipients in its 110 years, now there are 15 women. The Prize motivation: "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work" Born on 7 February 1979 in Mekhlaf, Ta'izz province in Yemen. She grew up near Taiz, and became the international public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising which is part of the Arab Spring. She has been called by Yemenis the "Iron Woman" and "Mother of the Revolution”.   She is the daughter of Abdel Salam Karman, a lawyer and politician, who once served and later resigned as Legal Affairs Minister in Ali Abdullah Saleh's government. She earned an undergraduate degree in commerce from the University of Science and Technology, Sana'a and a graduate degree in political science from the University of Sana'a. Karman is the mother of three children. Karman is a Yemeni journalist, politician and senior member of the of Al-Islah political party, and human rights activist who heads the group Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) which she co-founded in 2005 with seven other female journalists in order to promote human rights, particularly freedom of opinion and expression, and democratic rights.  Although it was founded as "Female Reporters Without Borders," the present name was adopted in order to get a government license. She gained prominence in her country after 2005 in her roles as a Yemeni journalist and an advocate for a mobile phone news service denied a license in 2007, after which she led protests for press freedom. She organized weekly protests after May 2007 expanding the issues for reform. Tawakul Karman protests outside the UN building, 18 October 2011. She told the Yemen Times in 2010 “Women should stop being or feeling that they are part of the problem and become part of the solution. We have been marginalized for a long time, and now is the time for women to stand up and become active without needing to ask for permission or acceptance. This is the only way we will give back to our society and allow for Yemen to reach the great potentials it has”. "I am a citizen of the world. The Earth is my country, and humanity is my nation. One of Karman’s widely distributed quotes has stirred passion in many, when asked about her hijab by journalists and how it is not proportionate with her level of intellect and education, she replied: “Man in early times was almost naked, and has his intellect evolved, he started wearing clothes. What I am today and what I am wearing represents the highest level of thought and civilization that man has achieved and is not regressive. It is the removal of clothes that is regressive, back to ancient times.” The 2011 prize is to be divided equally among the three recipients from a total of 10 million Swedish kronor. The Nobel jury specifically lauded Ms Karman for playing, "in the most trying circumstances, both before and during the Arab Spring... a leading part in the struggle for women's rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen." In reaction to the award Karman, while camped out in Sana'a during ongoing anti-government protests, said: "I didn’t expect it. It came as a total surprise. This is a victory for Arabs around the world and a victory for Arab women" and that the award was a "victory of our peaceful revolution. I am so happy, and I give this award to all of the youth and all of the women across the Arab world, in Egypt, in Tunisia. We cannot build our country or any country in the world without peace," adding that it was also for "Libya, Syria and Yemen and all the youth and women, this is a victory for our demand for citizenship and human rights," that "all Yemenis [are] happy over the prize. The fight for democratic Yemen will continue," that she "dedicate[s] it to all the martyrs and wounded of the Arab Spring… in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria and to all the free people who are fighting for their rights and freedoms" and "I dedicate it to all Yemenis who preferred to make their revolution peaceful by facing the snipers with flowers. It is for the Yemeni women, for the peaceful protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, and the entire Arab world." She also said she had not known about the nomination and had found out about the award via television. “ The solution to women’s issues can only be achieved in a free and democratic society in which human energy is liberated, the energy of both women and men together. Our civilization is called human civilization and is not attributed only to men or women. ” —Tawakul Karman She has been selected as the first place of the FP top 100 global thinkers of 2011. Tawakul Karman is an inspiration and is a definite 1One4 icon.

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