Liberian peace activist and Daily Beast contributor Leymah Gbowee was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for her “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work.” She shares the award with Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state, and Tawukul Karman, a pro-democracy activist in Yemen.
Gbowee has gained worldwide notice for her leadership of women in Liberia against civil war.The fighting in her country effectively ended in 2003, and her movement led to the end of the dictatorship Charles Taylor and the election of Africa’s first female leader, Gbowee’s co-prizewinner Ellen Sirleaf Johnson. Among Gbowee’s many now-famous stunts was convincing ordinary women to dress in white in protest of the violence.
Gbowee headlined the launch of the Women in the World foundation in September and just published her memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers, with The Daily Beast’s imprint, Beast Books. Barnes & Noble CEO Leonard Riggio agreed to personally cover the costs of Gbowee and other Barnes & Noble executives. Riggio said he first heard of Gbowee when she was featured in the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell. “If you met her and she said, ‘I need some money to help me get my message out,’” he told the New York Times, “I guarantee you would write her a check.”