2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner speaks at TU

By Marcus Whitman, Contributing Writer

Photo by Marcus Whitman/ The Towerlight

Towson University hosted Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, an international peace activist, as she talked about ways people can generate peaceful resolutions to global issues on Saturday.

Gbowee won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work in leading a women’s peace movement that ended the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. She is also the founder and president of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, which provides educational and leadership positions to youth and women in West Africa.

Gbowee got into her field of work when she questioned her desire to be a pediatrician.

“The war was going on at that time” said Gbowee. “So I thought, ‘Do I really want to spend four years studying to become a doctor, or do I wanna do something else?’ I became very disillusioned with going to school. I saw that children were getting hurt and in need. I thought about it and decided that I wanted do social work.”

Gbowee felt then that she could do more as a social worker treating trauma victims than she could as a doctor.

She then went on to talk about how she feels that the means to achieve peace is not through militaristic actions, but that she wants people to work on recognizing others as human instead.

Gbowee said that a key to human rights is to recognize individuals as human beings and not anything less, and to convey to these individuals that have been treated as less than humans that they are individuals humans with rights.

Seeda Williams, a freshman majoring in Psychology and English who is from Liberia, was one of the students who got to see Gbowee speak.

“My advisor, Dr. Alison McCartney, had recommended that I come out tonight,” Williams said. “Since day one we have been talking about equality and social justice. So, getting to hear what Leymah had to say, about her push for social justice and equality in her work [was impactful].”

Alison McCartney, a political science professor, said she feels Gbowee coming to Towson was good for students, and mentioned that a big way for students to help others is, like Gbowee said, by helping out your communities first and sharing the knowledge learned in the classroom.

“I think this event provided a unique experience for students to have meaningful contact, and [to] have [connected] with someone who is achieving her goals, and achieving them at an international level,” McCartney said.

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