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EMU President Makes Nobel Trip

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Eastern Mennonite University alumna Leymah Gbowee will be joined by family, friends and university President Loren Swartzendruber in Oslo this weekend as she accepts the Nobel Peace Prize.

Gbowee created the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace movement, working to end the rape and other violence that erupted during the second Liberian civil war in 2003. She is sharing this year’s peace prize with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman, a Yemeni women’s rights activist.

“Everything I’ve done and continue to do is not because I expected an award. I see my work as a calling from God,” Gbowee told the Daily News-Record in October.

Gbowee, now 39, earned a master’s degree in conflict transformation from EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding in 2007.

“It’s an exciting time for EMU and obviously for Leymah,” Swartzendruber said. “We’re proud to claim her as one of our alums. Certainly, her work on the ground as a relatively young person really mobilized both Christian and Muslim women.”

Gbowee’s son, Joshua Mensah, an EMU sophomore, and Swartzendruber plan to attend the presentation ceremony, which is set for Saturday afternoon at Oslo City Hall.

Gbowee and Mensah were traveling Wednesday afternoon and were not immediately available for further comment, said Maria Hoover, a spokeswoman for EMU’s peacebuilding center.

“We’re obviously very, very pleased for the recognition for Leymah,” said Lynn Roth, the center’s executive director. “I’m personally pleased that she got [the award] with two other women because that exemplifies that peacebuilding is obviously an important movement.”

Forty-three women overall have been awarded a Nobel Prize in science, medicine, literature or peace since the honors were first given in 1901, according to nobelprize.org.

Article courtesy Daily News Record, Dec. 9, 2011

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