What the Nobel Peace Prize Teaches Us About Education

Last week three women, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their tremendous peace building efforts in their respective countries. This announcement came on the heels of several global conferences, including CGI 2011, during which international leaders called for an end to child marriage, FGM, and gender inequality. Prominent figures like Archbishop Desmond Tutu noted girls’ education as crucial to eliminating these evils. A former Nobel Peace Prize laureate himself, Tutu stood by the mantra that I would like to focus on today: “Education is the key to eradicating poverty, reducing disease, improving local economies and facilitating peace.”

As evidenced by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Liberian Leymah Gbowee, Africa benefits greatly from women leading non-violent regimes. Among their countless achievements, both Sirleaf and Gbowee hold advanced degrees. They represent the miniscule percent of educated women in the region, and quintessentially display the need for schooling all girls, everywhere. Imagine if you will a hundred, a thousand, a million smart young women transforming the world for better, just as Sirleaf and Gbowee have done.

Without education, such a profound vision of global peace is impossible. According to Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland in Oslo, “We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women achieve the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society.” Maasai Girls Education Fund (MGEF) joins Jagland, Tutu, and many others in advocating for equal access to education. Women within and beyond Africa need this and to be blunt, humanity needs this too.

Congratulations to the Nobel Peace Prize laureates! We look forward to watching your efforts expand and multiply in the coming days, months, and years. You inspire us.

To learn more about Maasai Girls Education Fund (MGEF) please visit our website here.