"The first woman to be awarded the Noble Peace Prize was the Austrian Bertha von Suttner in 1905.."
EL-BIREH, West Bank - Names of eight Palestinian women, nominated for the Noble Peace Prize as part of the Project 1000 Women for the Noble Peace Prize 2005, were officially announced during a press conference that was held at the Palestine Media Center in the West Bank town of el-Bireh on Wednesday...
The Noble Peace Prize was awarded for the first time in 1901 and up to now, it has been awarded mainly to men and to organizations, and only 11 times to women, said Rosmarie Zapfl “Helbling at the conference, adding that women are largely excluded from the sustainable implementation of peace programs, despite their reliability in such processes.
The first woman to be awarded the Noble Peace Prize was the Austrian Bertha von Suttner in 1905, and now after 100 years, We want 1000 women to receive this prize in 2005, Zapfl-Helbling, the Project s Selection Committee representative, told reporters. Helbling is also a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Palestinian Advisory Council set up, Selection Committee Formed
Project 1000 Women for Noble Peace Prize 2005 aims at searching for 1000 women all over the world to be nominated for the Noble Peace Prize for the year 2005. The idea behind the project is to direct global attention to the vital role those women play in all aspects of life to build and support peace in their societies.
A nine-member Advisory Council of the Association 1000 Women for the Noble Peace Prize 2005 was set up in Palestine a year ago. Faiha Abdul-Hadi is the Project Coordinator.
Announcements were published in local newspapers, and notices were sent to women s organizations in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in the Palestinian Diaspora, inviting nominations, said Abdul-Hadi.
The Advisory Council received thirty-nine complete nominations together with the requested supporting documents.
A six-member Selection Committee was formed from professionals representing Palestinian civil society organizations and universities, who have no family or work relations with any of the nominees.
Eight Candidates Nominated
The committee recommended eight candidates who were endorsed by the Advisory Council as the official nominees.
As selection criteria, the Council agreed to recognize contributions to peace, demonstration of achievements under adverse conditions, and prominent social, political, community and cultural awareness.
Representative of the Palestinian Selection Committee Randa Siniora read the names of the nominees: Isam Abdul-Hadi, Yusra Berberi, Nafeesa Al Deek, Zahira Kamal, Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Amneh Abdul-Jaber Al-Rimawi, Hanan Mikhail Ashrawi and Amneh Jibril Sulaiman.
Abdul-Hadi and Zapfl-Helbling were joined at the press conference by Khadija Habashneh, member of the Palestinian Advisory Council, Randa Siniora, and Lea Valanlta the Peace Building Advisor at the Representative Office of Switzerland to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
Valanlta: Situation in Palestine a Challenge
Valanlta said that it is important for women to search for peace and to find development strategies to create peace within their societies, adding that women have a vital role in their societies during conflicts.
The situation in Palestine urges Palestinian women to struggle and challenge the conflict in order to get rid of the occupation, bring peace to their people and to achieve a democratic society free of all kinds of discrimination, Valanlta told reporters.
The idea was first created in March 2003 by Member of the Swiss Parliament (National Council) and the Council of Europe Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold, who presided the Association 1000 Women for Noble Peace Prize 2005.
Swiss Initiative with Support in 153 Nations
In May 2003, Vermot-Mangold started searching for regional coordinators for the project to hold the first workshop on the project in August 2003 to set up standards of the nomination for the prize.
The initiative has gained international support by UNIFEM and UNDP and is under the patronage of the Swiss UNESCO Committee. The Association works in close collaboration with the Swiss Peace Foundation, where the main office of the project is located. The project will come to a close in 2006.
Project 1000 Women for Noble Peace Prize has representations in 153 countries, including Palestine.
The number of nominations depended on the population size of each country, but the countries that witness conflicts were given higher presentation as women in these countries bear bigger burdens in resisting violence and sustaining conflicts. The total number of selected women was 999.
Source: Palestine Media Center ( www.palestine-pmc.com)