Nobel Peace Prize 2015 winner: Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet takes award for paving way for post-Arab Spring "peaceful dialogue"

 
James Nickerson
Follow James
Secretary general of the Tunisian General Labour Union Houcine Abbassi was part of the Quartert (Source: Getty)

The National Dialogue Quartet has been awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize, for paving the way for a peaceful dialogue between citizens in Tunisia following the Arab Spring in 2010-11.

The group, comprised of four organisations in Tunisia, pipped other contenders to the post, including Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Eritrean Catholic priest Mussie Zerai, who has helped thousands of refugees cross the Mediterranean, was also on the shortlist.

Read more: Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 goes to three geneticists who could transform cancer treatment

In a statement, the Nobel Assembly said:

The quartet was formed in the summer of 2013 when the democratisation was in danger of collapsing as a result of political assassinations and widespread social unrest.

It established a peaceful political protest at the time the country was on the brink of civil war. It was thus instrumental in enabling Tunisia in the space of a few years to establish a constitutional system of government, guaranteeing fundamental rights for the entire population, irrespective of gender, political conviction or religious belief.

Read more: Nobel Prize for medicine - These discoveries shaped the last decade in medical research

The Arab Spring originated in Tunisia in 2010-2011, but quickly spread to a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East, the Nobel Committee said. "In many of these countries, the struggle for democracy and fundamental rights has come to a standstill or suffered setbacks. Tunisia, however, has seen a democratic transition based on a vibrant civil society with demands for respect for basic human rights."

The committee concluded that the prize is intended as an encouragement to the Tunisian people, who despite major challenges have laid the groundwork for a national fraternity which the committee hopes will serve as an example to be followed by other countries.

Responding to questions after the winner was announced, Kaci Kullmann Five, chariperson of of the Nobel Committee, said:

We hope it will inspire people to see that it is possible to work together, that Islamic and secular political movements have managed to do so with the help of civil society in Tunisia, and that this is in the best interests of everybody living in the country.

Below shows how the winner is selected:

Related articles