Two Young African Muslim Women Nominated For This Year's Nobel Peace Prize
Syed Khalique Ahmed
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 7—Two young Muslim African women have been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The award will be given on December 10 in Oslo, Norway.
The two women are 29-year-old Ilwad Elman, a social rights activist from Somalia and 26-year-old law student Hajer Sharief from Libya. They are from among 301 list of candidates for the prestigious award.
Both are part of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's initiative Extremely Together, which brings together 10 young change makers from around the world.
Both the women have been working for peace building in their respective countries. Media reports say that both the women are on short list of the Director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo. The list is thought to highlight the strongest contenders for the prize.
Elman was born in Mogadishu. Her parents-Fartuun Adan and Elman Ali Ahmed-were peace activists. While her father was killed for assisting in the rehabilitation of youth affected by war in early 1990s, her mother left with her and her sisters and took asylum in Canada after that.
At the age of 19 in 2010, Elman returned to Mogadishu and worked for peace in her country. Since then, she organised many social programmes, focusing on women’s rights in Somalia. Her accomplishments include setting up the rape crisis centre for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
In a tweet, Elman said, “So honoured to be nominated and shortlisted for Nobel Peace Prize”.
Sharief has been working for peace and humanitarian work in Libya since 2011 when her country witnessed worst kind of civil war. At the age of 19 in 2011, she set up an organisation-Together We Build It-and started working for peaceful democratic transition in her country. Her organisation focuses on empowering youth and women in Libyan society. In 2013, she set up 1325 Network with the help of other organisations and activists in 30 cities across Libya to create awareness about what women can do to build peaceful and safe societies. She is currently studying law.
In a tweet, Sharief said, “A huge honor to be in @h_urdal shortlist for #NobelPeacePrize #libya”
The Nobel Peace Prize, first awarded in 1901, aim to “honour the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses”.