The Marymount community is thrilled to announce that one of its own members has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. Leymah Gbowee, peace activist and mother of a Class XII Marymount student, was recognized by the Nobel Committee for her “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and women’s rights and (her) true participation in peace building work.” She shares the award with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy activist.
Ms. Gbowee’s work in organizing both Christian and Muslim women to stand up for the safety and civil rights of the families and children of Liberia during the country’s second Civil War brought about political change and moved the country from the dictatorship of Charles Taylor to its first Presidential elections. She was a featured speaker at both Marymount’s 85th Founder’s Day celebration as well as the School’s 2011 commencement.
In a recent religious studies assignment meant to identify prophets in our midst, students reflected upon Leymah Gbowee’s contributions to further the cause of peace in our world. Brittany M. (Class of 2012) wrote, “As an activist, Leymah Gbowee has exhibited many characteristics of the prophets we see in the Bible; this includes being an iconoclast, using explosive, emotional language, and being austere and compassionate.” Kristen W. (Class of 2012) identified Ms. Gbowee thus, “Although she witnessed countless incidences of suffering among her people inflicted by the armies of Liberia, (she) was equally affected by each injustice and thus was motivated to fight for peace.”
Gbowee’s efforts to bring about peace in Liberia are featured in the documentary film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, produced by Abigail Disney mother of two Marymount alumnae. The film premiers on PBS on October 18, 2011.