2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Visits CRLS

2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Visits CRLS
Posted on 01/28/2021
Tawakkol KarmanStudents in Ms. Otty's Dynamics of the Modern Middle East course were honored to welcome Tawakkol Karman, a 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate and human rights activist from Yemen, to speak to her class at the end of the semester. Students in the class had just finished learning about the 2011 Arab Spring and the legacies it continues to have in the region. Karman was able to offer an insider's view of the uprisings because of her experience leading protests in Yemen, ultimately leading to the forced resignation of that country's long time president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. She told students about the hope she continues to feel about the power of everyday people, especially young people, to make profound change based on her experiences leading protests and pushing for political and gender reform in Yemen. She shared that while some regard the uprisings of 2011 as failed attempts, she believes that in fact they succeeded in many ways -- in ousting longtime dictators, in pushing for more democratic processes within countries, and in inspiring later movements for political reform in Sudan, Algeria, Lebanon, and Iraq in 2019. Karman also identified the need for Western countries like the U.S. to pull back any support for dictatorial regimes in the region in order to better enable grass roots movements for democracy to take hold. Ultimately, Karman's message was one of hope and encouragement for the students. She urged them strongly to take action in their own country and to speak up for the vulnerable in other countries in order to be active supporters of human rights and democracy for all.
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