The Nobel Peace Prize 2011
Born: 7 February 1979, Ta'izz, Yemen
Residence at the time of the award: Yemen
Prize motivation: “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work”
Prize share: 1/3
Freedom of expression and democracy in Yemen
Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni journalist, was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize from the Arab world. She shared the award with two Liberian women, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, for their non-violent efforts to promote peace and their struggle for women’s rights.
She led several protests against the dictatorial regime of President Saleh, calling for democracy and freedom of speech. She founded the organisation Women Journalists without Chains, and was imprisoned and persecuted on account of her active engagement.
Tawakkol Karman came forward as a courageous leadership figure during the Arab Spring in 2011 and was praised for her efforts to promote reconciliation between Sjia and Sunni Muslims and between Islam and other religions. Like Iranian Shirin Ebadi, Peace Prize laureate for 2003, she maintained that Islam is no obstacle to the full acceptance of women in every sphere of society.