Dear Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman,

Congratulations on your selection for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. It is a fitting recognition of your tireless efforts to build lasting peace in your countries and throughout the world. In choosing you, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has underscored the critical role of women in averting and ending war and creating the conditions for just and sustainable peace. This much-deserved tribute underscores the importance of ensuring that women are fully represented in peacemaking and post-conflict peace building and that the rights of women and children under the International Declaration of Human Rights are recognized and protected.

In 1947, our organization and the British Friends Service Council accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of “Quakers everywhere.” Since then, we have taken seriously our privilege as laureates to nominate candidates for the Prize. Our deliberations often have focused on the nonviolent resistance of women to violent and repressive regimes, making us particularly aware of the courageous and powerful importance of your work.

The AFSC community is especially pleased that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee selected three women to receive the prize this year, recognition of the disproportional suffering inflicted on women and children by wars and armed conflict. Along with the rest of the world, we have watched with hope as mass movements grounded in nonviolence resistance have opened the way to more open and democratic societies.  We applaud the many women helping lead and organize the nonviolent democratic uprisings in the North Africa and the Middle East.  Following your own examples, they have been bold advocates for women’s rights and participation in public life.   

We wish you continued success in your struggles to bring justice and lasting peace to your lands. More than a decade ago United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 addressed the important role women can and must play in bringing an end to armed conflict through active participation in all aspects of political life. We earnestly hope that your recognition as Nobel Peace Laureates will draw renewed attention to the impact of war on women and women's contributions to conflict resolution and sustainable peace.

In peace,

Shan Cretin Signature

Shan Cretin
General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee