African Women Voices
She was bold. She was beautiful. She was cultured. She was humble.
What is your idea of Nobel Peace Prize, and for the love of god do not think about European Union and so forth. My idea of Nobel Peace Prize is of someone shining, someone always under the lights, someone people would die to listen to, someone who can always says the right words. Of course, the actions they make have much to do with their Prize, but sometimes we forget to look into their histories. So when the president of my association, Tam Tam D’Afrique, told me we were going to meet Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner, I started to do some more research. If you read about her, she is quite impressive, she is the one to have basically made it possible for a woman to become president of an African Country, another Nobel Peace Prize winner, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, current president of Liberia.
I have to admit, I was not nervous about meeting pacifist Leymah Gbowee and she definitely did not present herself as a queen or so. We met in one of Rome hotel where she was staying because of the recent Nobel Prize Alumni conference, that took place in Italian capital.
When listening to hear speaking, however, something changed. Up to then, I knew what events have brought her to be awarded such an amazing Prize, but I had no idea “Why”. Until then. Every word she said about Africa was different from the ones you hear on the news, she spoke like a person who has seen directly the good and the bad of the continent. She spoke as someone who has studied her continent. And she spoke like someone who knew about politics, anthropology, economy and social sciences. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like we all have a perception of Africa as if it’s an intricate and endless labyrinth of wars, violence, poverty, hunger, corruption. And while we get lost turning in impasse after impasse, she takes one alley and follows it until the way out.
Because, there is a way out. You just need to be willing to cross it.
So, this week I met 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Leymah Gbowee and understood that a Nobel Prize Alumna is a person with an extraordinary understanding of the situation because she/he experimented it first-hand, with high ambition for the humanity and who is able to transform this into action. This is a person to aspire to.