Thursday, June 30, 2005

1000 Women for 2005 Nobel Peace Prize (1)

Yesterday the names of the 1,000 women collectively nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize were announced simultaneously in different parts of the world. Twenty seven, repeat, 27, of these women nominees are from the Philippines.

The nomination was submitted to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo, Norway in Jan. 2005. In October we will know if these 1,000 women will collectively be named as this year’s winner of the Peace Prize which is often considered the plum of the Nobel awards. For sure there are other nominees (individuals, pairs or groups) in the peace category. The so-called ``1000 Women for the Nobel for the Nobel Peace Prize’’ is just one of them.

Behind this unprecedented global search for 1,000 nominees was the Association 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005. The key words here are ``women’’, ``peace’’ and ``1,000’’.

The Association 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Price 2005 was began in 2003 on the conviction that the commitment of women working for peace should be acknowledged and publicized. It started as a Swiss initiative but interest spread worldwide, thanks to the energy of coordinators and volunteers around the world who identified and documented the peace work of women in their regions. The project has the support of the Swiss Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheline Calmy Rey, UNIFEM. UNDP and UNESCO Switzerland.

The Nobel Peace Prize is not always free from controversy but a Nobel is a Nobel. Other fields like science, literature and economics will also have their nominees and winners. It is not rare that a category would have a couple of winners, but 1,000? And all women at that.

Who are they, where are they, what are they doing? (You can read their short biographies in

The nominated women were picked on the basis of their active commitment to the cause of peace and justice, often under the most difficult circumstances. The Association describes them thus:

``They call for reconciliation and organize peace talks, they rebuilt what has been destroyed in villages and cities, they fight against poverty and create new sources of income. They struggle for access to clean water, land and other resources. They care for those infected with HIV and give war orphans a home. They denounce violations of human rights and publicly condemn all forms of torture. They hold silent protests in public places and seek solutions to all forms of aggression.

``They work mainly in their own villages and regions, but many women are also in institutes and universities. Some of them are members of governments or are active in the international scene. The criteria for each nomination were, among others, sustainability, integrity, long-term engagement, the inclusion of all parties to conflict and a wide network. The 1,000 women are experts in their fields of work, they are beacons of hope for their local people, they are informed, demanding, and not accommodating!’’

There, I quoted even the exclamation point. I hope the ``not’’ in ``not accommodating’’ is not a typo. Uncompromising sounds better.

Regardless of whether the ``1000 Women’’ win the Peace Nobel or not, these women’s lives will not go unnoticed. A book on them will be out at the end of 2005. Written by hundreds of journalists around the world, these women’s mini biographies will serve as inspiration and reference for women, peace advocates, institutions and governments. A traveling exhibit will complement the book.

They come from 153 countries. The 1000 Women are actually 999 in real number. Reserve one for the unknown, undiscovered and those who have passed on.

I went over the list and picked out the countries with 10 or more nominees. India-91, China-81, Brazil-52, USA-40, Russian Federation-35, Pakistan-29, Philippines-27, Indonesia-23, China-Taiwan-18, Bangladesh-16, Sudan-16, Germany-15, Mali-15, South Africa-14, Colombia-12, Mexico-12, Sri Lanka-12, Thailand-12, Vietnam-12, Afghanistan-11, Burundi-10, Ukraine-10, UK-10, Uzbekistan-10.

Here are the names of the 27 Filipino women. Ma. Lorenza ``Binky’’ Dalupan-Palm, Cecil Guidote-Alvarez, Miriam ``Dedet’’ L. Suacito, Corazon ``Dinky’’ Soliman, Adoracion ``Dory’’ C. Avisado, Delia Ediltrudes ``Duds’’ Santiago-Locsin, Eliza G. del Puerto, Hadja Bainon Guiabar Karon, Haydee Yorac, Irene Morada Santiago, June Caridad Pagaduan-Lopez, Loreta Navarro-Castro, Sister Mariani Dimaranan SFIC, Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Mary Lou L. Alcid, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Myla Jabilles Leguro, Piang T. Albar, Pura Sumangil, Ana Theresia ``Risa’’ Hontiveros-Baraquel, Seiko Bodios Ohashi, Sister Mary Soledad Perpinan RGS, Teresa Banaynal Fernandez, Teresita ``Tessy’’ Ang-See, Teresita ``Ging’’ Quinto-Deles, Zenaida Brigida ``Manang Briggs’’ Hamada-Pawid, Zenaida ``Zeny’’ Tan Lim.

I am not surprised to see a big harvest of women peace advocates from countries with chronic peace problems. And the bigger the population the more nominees. Surprisingly, Norway, the Nobel’s homeland, has only one woman in the 1000 Women list. Ireland has none. Why? The Occupied Palestinian Territory has 8, Israel also has 8. Mongolia has 9. Bosnia-Herzegonia has 7. Croatia has 6. Laos has 7. East Timor has 3.

It’s interesting how all these women, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, find common ground in their work for peace. Some of them come from warring nations.

The world is so much better because of them. Hearken and heed.

(Next week: What the 27 Filipino nominees say.)