December 14th, 2011 | University

Liberian President Sirleaf wins Nobel

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf speaks in Battell Chapel in April 2009.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf speaks in Battell Chapel in April 2009. Photo by Snigdha Sur.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who earned an honorary law degree in 2010, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Saturday at a ceremony in Oslo.

Sirleaf and two other female political leaders — Tawakkol Karmen, a Yemeni pro-democracy campaigner, and Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist — shared the award “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Yale awarded Sirleaf an honorary doctorate of laws in May 2010 recognizing her political work in Liberia. She is the first woman to be elected president in Africa and has been widely recognized as an important leader for women’s rights in Africa.

“Arrested for challenging the ruling powers, you persevered to run for office, fight corruption, and bring integrity to government,” said University President Richard Levin at the honorary degree ceremony. “Your vision of a renewed Liberia is becoming a reality because of your sacrifice, dedication, determination, and wisdom.”

Sirleaf also holds honorary law degrees from Harvard, Brown and Rutgers, among others.