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Africa: Will an African Win 2019’s Nobel Peace Prize?

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Johannesburg — Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Somalian social rights activist Ilwad Elman and Libyan law student Hajer Sharief are nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

IIwad Elman

Ilwad Elman moved from Canada to Somalia in 2010 to fight for former child soldiers and female victims of sexual abuse. The 29-year-old’s father, Elman Ali Ahmed, also known as the Father of Peace, was killed in 1996 in Mogadishu and her mother Fartuun Adan continued the peace mission. Their campaign dubbed Drop the Gun, Pick the Pen helped many children return to school after many years of conflict in the country. The organisation has now expanded to helping women who are victim of sexual abuse, skills and capacity development among others.

Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s surprise visit to Eritrea which led to a peace deal that ended two decades of hostility between the two neighbors may earned him a Nobel Peace Prize. The deal with Eritrea won Abiy international praise.

Despite a peace deal that had been signed in December 2000, tensions between the two remained high as Ethiopia disputed the border. Now Abiy is said to be the bookmakers’ favorite to win a Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, October 11 after 15-year-old Swedish environmental campaigner and activist Greta Thunberg.

After taking office in April 2018, Ahmed released political prisoners, also championing women in politics, electing females to half of the government’s 20 ministerial posts.

Hajer Sharief 

Hajer Sharief, a 26-year-old law student who calls herself a full-time war survivor may also find herself a Nobel Laureate. At 19, Shariefa started her own organization aimed at supporting a peaceful democratic transition called Together We Build It after witnessing the horrific events of the civil war in Libya. In 2013, Sharief co-initiated the 1325 Network project, a collection of organizations and activists across 30 cities in Libya who can work together to raise awareness of women’s role in building safe societies. She is currently studying law.

In 2018, an African, Congolese doctor Dr Denis Mukwege was awarded the Peace Prize for his efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

Since 1901, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded annually to honour those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.

A person or organisation awarded the Nobel Prize is called Nobel Laureate. The word “laureate” refers to being signified by the laurel wreath. In ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were awarded to victors as a sign of honour.

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