Loyola University Maryland

Hanway Lecture in Global Studies

Speaker's Biography

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Karman TawakkolTawakkol Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 in recognition of her work in the non-violent struggle for the expression of rights, safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work in Yemen. Upon being awarded the prize, Karman became the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, and at the time was the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate at age 32.

Karman is a mother of three as well as a human rights activist, journalist, politician, President of Women Journalists Without Chains organization and senior member of the Al-Islah political party. She is a member of the advisory board for the Transparency International organization and for several international Human Rights NGOs.

Bold and outspoken, Karman has been imprisoned on a number of occasions for her pro-democracy, pro-human rights protests. Amongst Yemen’s Youth movement, she is known as "mother of the revolution," "the iron woman," and recently, "the lady of the Arab spring."

A journalist by profession and human rights activist by nature, Karman responded to the political instability and human rights abuses in Yemen by mobilizing others and reporting on injustices. She has entered into many dialogues and written several articles, calling for abandonment of extremism, violence and terrorism, for the dialogues between religions, sects and for co-existence between the peoples, cultures and civilizations.

Karman studied an undergraduate degree in Commerce from the University of Science and Technology in Sana’a before completing a graduate degree in Political Science from the University of Sana’a. Since receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Karman has continued to support female journalists and rally Yemenis against government corruption and injustice. Fiercely committed to change, she spends the majority of her time in a tent in Change square, where she continues her peaceful protests for justice and freedom.

She strongly calls for the equal citizenship not only in her country, but on the world level. With her faith in peaceful struggle and her leadership in the peaceful protest movement years before the Arab Spring, Tawakkol Karman is making a political, social and cultural change in Yemen.