Ilwad Elman and Hajer Sharief have been recognized for their stellar efforts in activism as they have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, one of the most prestigious recognition of human excellence in the world. Ilwad Elman is a Somalian human rights activist and Hajer Sharief is a law student from Libya.
In a world that has increasingly become cold and indifferent to the plight of other human beings, peace-building is one of the most important elements needed at the moment. These two young women have been instrumental as regards peace-building in their respective countries. These two young ladies are part of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's initiative called Extremely Together. This is a program that brings together 10 young change-makers from around the world.
Elman has been on an admirable mission to preach messages of peace. She was born in Mogadishu to parents who were already activists. Because of the raging war in the 90s, her family sought asylum in Canada some years later, but her father was assassinated for assisting in the rehabilitation of youth co-opted by war. Elman returned to Somalia in 2010 to keep the fire on the messages of peace burning. She has been at the forefront of the fight for women's rights in Somalia. She founded Somalia's first rape crisis center for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
Hajer Sharief's experiences of the war in Libya that has torn the country apart since 2011 spurred her to shift her focus on top of the message of peace. The horrendous nature of the war in her own eyes led her to start her own organization aimed at supporting a peaceful democratic transition called Together We Build It. The thrust of the organization is widely empowering the women and the youth in Libya. As it stands, she is studying Law.
Young women are at the front lines of leading efforts to foster peace and worth celebrating. Peace is what the continent needs. Peace is what the whole world needs right now.
The Nobel Peace Prize is a recognition honoring "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses." It was first awarded in 1901.
Header image credit - Okay Africa