Leymah Gbowee (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, 2011)

Leymah Gbowee Photo by Robin Holland/Corbis via Getty Images

Leading women to fight for peace was what I was meant to do with my life.”

Leymah Gbowee was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after organizing Liberian women to stand up and protest against the devastating civil wars that had plagued the country for years. She realised that peace was about more than an end to fighting; it was also about building a sustainable peace. And here women played a crucial role, since it was women who kept the society going while men were fighting the wars. Her campaigning help bring an end to the civil war and to the replacement of warlord Charles Taylor with the democratically elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as president.

 

Martin Chalfie (Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2008)

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 08: Martin Chalfie, a Columbia University professor, smiles after a press conference at Columbia after it was announced he won the Nobel Prize in chemistry October 8, 2008 in New York. Chalfie and two other chemists shared the prize for the discovery of a key substance in jellyfish that redefined the way researchers around the world work. Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

“Our main goal as educators is to make sure kids maintain their enthusiasm”

 As a student, Martin Chalfie became convinced that science was not for him because he thought you had to be able to do everything by yourself. Then he learned that science takes teamwork. He also learned that failure should be seen as an opportunity for learning. After receiving the Nobel Prize for his work on green fluorescent protein, Chalfie became engaged in the Committee on Human Rights of the United States National Academy of Sciences. From that position, he works on behalf of scientists who “would be at risk because of expressing their human rights that are embodied in the universal declaration of human rights.”

 

Wole Soyinka (Nobel Laureate in Literature, 1986)

JAIPUR, INDIA - JANUARY 22: The Road readings by Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka at DSC Jaipur Literature Festival 2010. Photo by Ramesh Sharma/India Today Group/Getty Images

“Intolerance has become the reigning ideology of the world today”

Wole Soyinka is a novelist, playwright, and poet. His works are often rooted in his native Nigeria and in the Yoruba culture, with its legends, tales and traditions. As a writer, Soyinka would prefer to work in solitude, but he also believes that as a citizen he has a duty to take part in politics and to protest. For this, writers “have one weapon, which is literature, but they also have their responsibilities as a citizen when literature does not seem to suffice.” True to this sentiment, Soyinka has been an outspoken critic of dictatorship and has suffered both imprisonment and exile as a consequence of this. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986.

  

Jan Eliasson, a Swedish diplomat and former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, who has worked for many years to promote peace and human rights at the very highest level.

 

Christer Mattsson, Deputy Director of the Segerstedt Institute at the University of Gothenburg, who conducts research on extremism among young people and on what the schools can do to prevent future terrorism and build trusting relationships.

 

Fatemeh Khavari arrived in Sweden as part of the big wave of refugees in the autumn of 2015. Ung i Sverige (Young in Sweden) and Fatemeh are fighting to stop the deportations of unaccompanied minors to Afghanistan. Today she is the spokesperson of Young in Sweden. She has received several awards, inlcuding Sweden’s 2018 Martin Luther King Prize.