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Oct. 20, 2015

Tunisia National Dialogue Quartet wins Nobel Peace Prize

by Maniza Habib, Online Managing Blogs Editor & Online News Editor
The Norwegian Nobel Committee finally came to a decision last Friday on who would win the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015. The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was awarded the prize for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution in 2011."

This choice is a surprise, with so many more well-known nominees like Pope Francis or U.S. privacy activist Edward Snowden in consideration. But, the committee made the decision with careful thought.

The Egypt Crisis began in 2011. Egyptian protestors were subsequently defeated in 2014, which marked the return of a military regime. The development of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has lurched Syria into a permanent state of panic. Millions of Syrians have been forced to flee from the notorious ISIS to neighboring European countries.

Tunisia stands as a sliver of hope among these countries known as the Arab Spring, where chaos is the norm. Tunisia is the only country in the Arab Spring that has been able to peacefully transition into a fully-fledged democracy. The Norwegian Nobel Committee aims to bring more attention to Tunisia's success by awarding this prize to a group who had a similar situation as the rest of the Arab Spring, but was able to overcome it.

Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet is comprised of labor union leaders, businesspeople, lawyers and human rights activists. They played a major role in Tunisia's transition. They provided a medium for discussion that didn't have to include hostility or violence. They also took the Jasmine Revolution as a way to reach out to Tunisia's citizens to create a cohesive identity.

The Jasmine Revolution marked the beginning of change. Demonstrators protested corruption, poverty, and political repression through marches and public disturbances. One man set himself on fire in front of a local municipal office in Sidi Bouzid to protest police violence. As a result, President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was forced to step down in January 2011. The event inspired demonstrations throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

The committee chose to give the award to the Quartet because they showed that Islamist and secular political movements could indeed use dialogue to work together peacefully and achieve results. They stand as an example for the rest of the countries in turmoil. The success of the transition shows the importance of government and democratization.
Tunisia still faces significant political, economic and security challenges. However, this newly awarded prize is meant to safeguard the democracy in Tunisia. It is a symbol for promoting peace across the Arab Spring and is a means of congratulating Tunisia's efforts.



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