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2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee Coming for February 15 Ubben Lecture

January 19, 2012

Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian activist whose work on behalf of women's issues and peace earned her the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, will visit DePauw University on Wednesday, February 15. At 7:30 p.m. in Meharry Hall of historic East College, Gbowee will discuss "Dedicating Your Life to Promoting Peace" in a Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture. The program is presented free of admission charge and is open to the public.

Gbowee, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemen's Tawakkul Karman were honored last month as the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipients "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work," in the words of the Nobel Prize committee.

Gbowee will become the ninth Nobel laureate and seventh winner of the Nobel Peace Prize to be welcomed to DePauw as an Ubben Lecturer.

Gbowee helped organize and then lead the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia's ruthless president and rebel warlords, even holding a "sex strike". Gbowee emerged as an international leader who changed history, marking the vanguard of a new wave of women taking control of their political destiny around the world.

Recently appointed by President Sirleaf as head of the new peace and reconciliation initiative in Liberia, Gbowee authored the recently-published memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War. Her part in helping to oust the former president of Liberia, Charles Taylor, was featured in the award-winning documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

President Sirleaf has stated, "Leymah bore witness to the worst of humanity and helped bring Liberia out of the dark. Her memoir is a captivating narrative that will stand in history as testament to the power of women, faith and the spirit of our great country."

Former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert has said that Gbowee's work "should be a lesson to all of us."

As she received the Nobel Peace Prize December 10, 2011, Gbowee stated, "This prize could not have come at a better time than this; a time when global and community conversations are about how local community members and unarmed civilians can help turn our upside-down world, right-side up. It has come at a time when unarmed citizens -- men and women, boys and girls -- are challenging dictatorships and ushering in democracy and the sovereignty of people."

The Ubben Lecture Series thanks the Sagamore Institute for its efforts in organizing this event.

Established in 1986 through the generous support of 1958 DePauw graduates Timothy H. and Sharon Williams Ubben, the Ubben Lecture Series was designed to "bring the world to Greencastle" and presents events which are available for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the local community to enjoy.

 

 

Previous Ubben Lecturers have included President Bill Clinton, who delivered a November 18, 2011 address to a crowd of 5,000 people to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the series. 

Other guests have been Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto, Elie Wiesel, John Major, F.W. de Klerk, Shimon Peres, Rebecca Skloot, Lee Hamilton, Spike Lee, Oscar Arias, Naomi Wolf, Jimmy Wales and Nicholas Carr, E.O. Wilson, Mike Krzyzewski, Eric Schlosser, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, Greg Mortenson, Todd Rundgren, Ross Perot, Jason Reitman, Mitch Albom, Peyton Manning, ice cream entrepreneurs Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield, General Wesley Clark,  Andrew Young, Bob Woodward, Paul Rusesabagina, David Plouffe, Paul Volcker, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robert M. Gates, Ralph Nader, Harry Belafonte, Lynne Cheney, Jane Pauley, Julian Bond, Frank Warren, Bill Bradley, Steven D. Levitt, Liz Murray, David McCullough, Ken Burns, David Gergen, Sister Helen Prejean, Paul Tsongas, Gwen Ifill, Brian Mulroney, William Bennett, and Mary Frances Berry, among others. 

To view a complete roster of Ubben Lecturers -- which includes links to video clips and news stories -- click here.

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