Winter 2003 (11.4)
"If the 21st century wishes to
free itself from the cycle of violence, acts of terror and war,
and avoid the repetition of the 20th century - that most disaster
- ridden century of humankind; there is no other way, except
by understanding and putting into practice every human right
for all mankind, irrespective of race, gender, faith, nationality
or social status. In anticipation of that day and with much gratitude"
Shirin Ebadi, (b. 1947) upon accepting the Nobel Peace Prize
in Oslo, Norway, on December 10, 2003. Ms. Ebadi is a lawyer
and human rights and democracy activist. Both in her research
and as an activist, she is known for promoting peaceful, democratic
solutions to serious problems in society.
This year's Nobel Prize, worth $US1.32 million, was given to
Ebadi from a record field of 165 candidates, including Pope John
Paul II and former Czech President Vaclav Havel.
Ebadi was the 11th woman to win the Peace Prize, as well being
the first Muslim woman and first recipient from Iran. Former
U.S. President Jimmy Carter (b. 1924) won the Peace Prize in
2002, and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan (b. 1938)
received it in 2001.
The Prize was originally established from the will of Alfred
Nobel (1833-1896) legendary Swedish philanthropist, who established
the Nobel Prizes. Few people, however, know that Alfred had two
older brothers, Robert (1829-1890) and Ludwig (1831-1888), who
were the founders of the Nobel Brothers' Petroleum Company in
Baku, and among the first international entrepreneurs to develop
Baku's oil. It was Alfred's money, not only from the manufacture
of dynamite, but also from oil in Baku that facilitated the establishment
of this most coveted prize in the world.
For this reason, Azerbaijanis, too, feel related to this prestigious
award which identifies some of the world's most distinguished
individuals who have contributed to the intellectual development
of mankind. The Nobel Prize is bestowed each year in six categories
- physics, physiology, chemistry, literature, economics and peace.
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