Friday, July 01, 2005

1,000 Women

Will the world sigh, "ho-hum," or will the world, startled, sit up and listen when the Nobel Peace Prize is announced in October?

Innovation might win the prize.

One Thousand Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 seeks to recognize women as peacemakers. And like the roles they play, the number 1,000 reflects the small but sustaining efforts of women. The names were announced just days ago.

In January, the official nomination letter was signed. Three women represent the 1,000, to conform with the rules of the Nobel Prize Committee, but all 1,000 names are listed.

The project originated in Switzerland in March 2003, when Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold, a member of the Swiss Parliament and the Council of Europe, visited refugee camps in Bosnia, Chechnya and other war-torn countries.

"Everywhere I meet courageous and resolute women who perform reconstruction and peace work in extremely dangerous circumstances," she told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Yet their work leaves scarcely any trace. I wanted to render visible the work of these women."

During 2004, a Swiss team and 20 international coordinators -- influential women from all continents -- searched the globe and collected thousands of candidates for the final 1,000 nominees. They include farmers, teachers, activists, artists and politicians from more than 150 countries working at all levels of society.

You can find out more about them at the Web site:

Since 1901, when the Nobel Peace Prize was first awarded, only 12 women have won.

In the worldwide search for candidates, 114 women were named in the United States; 40 were selected. Among them, Grace Paley, poet and peace activist, and Reps. Grace McKinney and Barbara Lee. (The full list is on the Web site).

The project is not solely about the Nobel Peace Prize. Whether or not these women win the prize, their efforts will become known, thanks to the project itself . It will publish a book -- a way of bestowing "summa cum laude" -- in November, listing the efforts of these women.

Now you've just gotta love it!


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