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NORWAY: Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet Wins 2015 Nobel Peace Prize


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On Friday October 9, Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for its work in supporting the country’s democratization process in the wake of the so-called "Jasmine Revolution" of 2011.The result was announced Today in Oslo, Norway.

VOA says The Tunisian quartet is made up of labor unions as well as the Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers. Head of Nobel Peace Price Kaci Kullmann Five reportedly said the group started its work at a time when Tunisia’s fragile democratization process was in danger of collapsing as a result of political assassinations and social unrest.

“It established an alternative peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war," Kullman explained.

Tunisia was the site of the first of the popular uprisings in 2011 known as the "Arab Spring." Tunisians took to the streets and forced the departure of longtime President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, in the hopes of ending decades of autocratic rule and corruption.

According to VOA, Tunisia, by many accounts,  is the Arab Spring’s only success story.While Egypt and Libya plunged into political turmoil and Syria descended into an all-out civil war, Tunisia carried out a non-violent election process in which voters last year handed victory to a secular political party.

But questions remain on how sustainable the gains will be as the country continues to struggle with corruption, a 35-percent unemployment rate among young people and the recruitment of thousands of young Tunisians by extremists, including the Islamic State group.

The United States this year pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in additional aid and more cooperation to bolster the fledgling democracy. During a visit by Tunisia’s president to Washington in May, President Obama designated the country as a major non-NATO ally of the United States, making it possible for Tunisia to receive more military aid.

The Nobel committee on Friday said it hopes Tunisia will serve as an example for other countries.This year’s list of 273 contenders was among the longest ever for the peace prize and included Pope Francis as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Nobel Prizes are awarded each year in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace.  The money comes from a bequest by Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel.  The awards, in existence since 1901, have become a top achievement honor in each field. The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences is also awarded by the committee, although it is not one of the original prizes set up by Alfred Nobel.  It will be announced next Monday - the last of the several prizes.

VOA says Nobel Prize winners are awarded a monetary prize that varies slightly in amount from year to year; in 2015, it is about $975,000. They are also given a medal and a Nobel diploma, awarded at ceremonies in Oslo and in Stockholm in December. Multiple winners divide the prize equally among themselves.