Global Fund Grantees Win Nobel Peace Prize

We celebrate and congratulate 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Leymah Gbowee, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemeni pro-democracy activist, Tawakkul Karman, who are all connected with Global Fund for Women grantee organizations.

leymah_ellen_copyright_lyn_hughesGlobal Fund grantees, Leymah Gbowee and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf awarded 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. © Lyn Hughes.

"We at the Global Fund are so happy and proud today," said Global Fund CEO, Musimbi Kanyoro. "Not just because the Nobel Committee recognized our grantee partners, but because in naming these three, they acknowledge and affirm that women are agents of change. These women, and millions of others like them, really are changing the world."

These were the first women to win the prize since Wangari Maathai, who died last month and was the founder of a Global Fund grantee partner, was named as the laureate in 2004. Most of the recipients in the award’s 110-year history have been men and today’s decision echoes our belief that women have creative and strategic solutions to the problems facing their communities.

Tawakkul Karman © Associated Press.

"We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society," Norwegian Nobel committee wrote in a press release.

Leymah Gbowee founded Women Peace and Security Network Africa, a Global Fund grantee since 2008, to mobilize and organize women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia. The group campaigned to ensure women's participation in elections, and has since worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war. Leymah’s story is featured in the documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, produced by Global Fund for Women board member, Abigail Disney.

“It would have been impossible for us to achieve what we achieved in Liberia had it not been for the fact that we had support both financially and morally from our sisters at Global Fund for Women,” said Leymah Gbowee after her 2009 JFK Profile in Courage Award.

As an organization inspired by the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Market Women’s Fund was awarded a Global Fund grant in 2008 to support the work of an international constituency of women activists with a mandate to create an empowering environment for Liberia’s market women. The group recognizes the significant contributions market women make to the health and wellbeing of their families, as well as the post-conflict reconstruction of their communities, and support them by providing business skill training, educational opportunities, and financial support.

Women Journalists Without Chains, established in part by Tawakkul Karman, received a Global Fund grant in 2006 to train and educate female journalists. In order to defend women's rights through various media outlets, these women work together to campaign, raise awareness and advocate for their equal rights.

It is the Norwegian Nobel committee's hope that the prize to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman will help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realize the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent.


Key Women’s Voices Missing from Clinton’s Speech

by Musimbi Kanyoro, CEO

When was the last time a major world leader devoted an entire speech on the global economy to the empowerment of women? Secretary Clinton’s keynote address at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in San Francisco was powerful and significant: she made a compelling case for women’s participation in economic policy and practice. Her vision and commitment to women’s leadership is exemplified by the fact that the Women and the Economy Summit is the largest convening of world leaders in the Bay Area since the signing of the UN Charter 66 years ago. Since the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, Secretary Clinton has been a committed advocate for women’s empowerment in government, business and civil society.

Read more »

Feminism After 9/11

Zeina Zaatari, Global Fund’s Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa (MENA), reflects on the legacy of 9/11 for KPFA’s Women’s Magazine. Zaatari discusses the extreme hardship that Arab and Muslim women from the MENA region and the United States face as a result of the global war on terror. Listen to the show »


Women Help Promote a Just Global Economy

In light of this week's historic APEC Women and the Economy Summit, Anasuya Sengupta, Global Fund Regional Director for Asia and Oceania, challenges women leaders in attendance to be a more critical force in shaping a different economic strategy for the region. In her opinion piece, published in San Francisco Chronicle’s Open Forum, Sengupta argues that if women were more involved in legislation and policy around farming, community and environmental stewardship might be prioritized over simple profit. Read more »


Elaine Martyn named VP of Development for Global Fund for Women

Elaine Martyn

Elaine Martyn’s position as Vice President of Development represents the intersection of her personal and professional passions: a commitment to women’s empowerment through high-level, dynamic fundraising. Ms. Martyn has lead efforts to build the philanthropic community in the UK, US and Asia. Her career has centered on the advancement of human rights through medical education, social justice, diversity policy, and advocacy using fundraising and political action. Elaine brings her experiences at Refugees International, King’s College London, the British Medical Association, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School to the Global Fund for Women to work with philanthropists who are committed to growing our impact.  

Prior to joining Global Fund, she lead the development team at Refugees International in Washington DC. From 2005-2008, she influenced the strategic vision behind King’s College London’s capital campaign, personally raising over $40 million towards medical research and healthcare projects in the UK, Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka and the U.S. She served as Head of Research Grants and Trusts at the British Medical Association and managed the work of a 20-member Board of Medical Education, crafting policy on patient rights and medical education. Ms. Martyn worked on marketing, communications, and donor stewardship initiatives at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the National Writing Project, and the International Institute. She has published on equal opportunities, mentorship, and management. 


Ms. Martyn double majored in Medical Studies and English Literature and Communications at Gannon University, and has a Master’s degree in Victorian Literature from the University of Leeds.  She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Women’s Foreign Policy Group and Women in Development, and an active supporter of Planned Parenthood. Her lifelong support of women’s rights, immigrant communities, and fundraising the developing world stems from her upbringing as a Sri-Lankan American and was inspired by her grandmothers who were passionate about philanthropy and education. When she’s not putting the fun in fundraising, Elaine enjoys reading 19th century novels and cheering for the New England Patriots.

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