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Champions for Peace: Women Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize

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ISBN-13: 978-0742540262
ISBN-10: 074254026X
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Editorial Reviews


Once again, Judith Stiehm, who has done so much to shine light on women inside militaries, shows us what a feminist curiosity about war and peace can freshly reveal. Champions of Peace opens our jaded eyes to all the smart thinking and savvy activist work that women in many countries have been doing to chart what peace looks like and move us forward toward creating it. (Enloe, Cynthia)

Champions for Peace is a book that was waiting to be written, and Judith Stiehm has handled the task with insight and verve. Give it your daughter, but only after you absorb the inspiration yourself! (Ehrenreich, Barbara)

A highly readable account of the diverse lives and times of twelve remarkable women, united by their struggles for peace and justice. Judith Stiehm deserves our thanks for bringing their stories together. (J. Ann Tickner)

Judith Stiehm’s clear, crisp narrative carries us into the company of twelve remarkably ordinary women recognized for their extraordinary contributions to international peace and social justice. Though different in many ways, the Nobel Peace women have shared a gift for recognizing what needed to be done and pursuing it with dogged determination. Stiehm shows us that their 'heroism' is within reach of us all. This book is both a celebration and an inspiration. (Susan Waltz)

An extraordinary story of champions—women who pursued peace. Some came from great wealth, others from poverty. All ages, religions, ethnic backgrounds—and all extraordinarily optimistic. A must-read for your soul. (Donna E. Shalala)

If you seek inspiration for instigating change, Stiehm's book will deliver. The earlier profiles are especially insightful, with the advantage of historical perspective. But the examples of all of these healers, writers, and peacemakers prove once again how one individual committed to goodness can lead civilization forward. (The Christian Science Monitor)

Useful, accessible book that every peace activist and every feminist should have on her or his shelf. (Journal Of International Women's Studies)

Judith Stiehm has written a wonderfully readable book about twelve gifted activist women who have been forces for change in the world. Stiehm reminds us that women have been critical to creating an understanding of peace, how difficult peace is to achieve, and what it takes to promote peaceful change. Their accomplishments are the more remarkable because these women were not presidents or prime ministers. Their power came not from political office or military strength, but from the force of their ideas, passion, and commitment to advancing a nonviolent vision of resolving conflicts. Stiehm's deft touch and engaging style presents these women so that we become familiar with their human sides as well as their remarkable achievements. (Pamela Aall)

The women who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize showcase a remarkably wide variety of personalities and interests. Thus, reading their histories provides us with a true sample of diversified greatness. All of these individuals have addressed wrongs largely created by men. All have performed challenging and unusual feats. Some have been—and remain—controversial. Professor Stiehm has done a great service for us in collecting their achievements and putting them in the larger context of the Peace Prize. This book will be an invaluable reference work. (Syse, Henrik)

About the Author

Judith Hicks Stiehm is professor of political science at Florida International University.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (July 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074254026X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742540262
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,290,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
As Judith Hicks Stiehm beautifully depicts in this telling of the contributions of 12 women Nobel Peace Laureates, women are creative thinkers and leaders. And as she also points out, war is a phenomenon that is associated with men. As an evolutionary biologist I've written an exploration for why women, as a group, are biologically less inclined to use physical violence to resolve conflicts ("Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace." Judith L. Hand (not Latta)) and why women are better natural negotiators. I also argue in that book and another ("A Future Without War") why it is that the empowerment of women across the globe is the critical catalyst needed to actually put an end to wars. Women in New Zealand were the first given the vote--real political power--roughly 100 years ago. Women are becoming increasingly active in government and conflict negotiations. The women described by Stiehm are the vanguard of a flood of women who will be working to change history in a quiet revolution in exactly the way Nobel hoped would happen. Her book is an inspiration for us all, women and men of good will, because it shows us women from across the globe and all walks of life stepping up and taking their share of the responsibility for how we run our world.
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Format: Paperback
Since the Nobel Peace Prize was first awarded in 1903, it has been given to only 12 women. Judith Hicks Stiehm presents the life story of each of these remarkable people, women from dramatically different backgrounds all around the globe. The stories, so cleary and compellingly told, are fascinating page-turners in themselves. And together they convey the essential point that anyone, anywhere, can work for peace, doing small things that may in fact add up to big changes to benefit the neighborhood, the locality, the region--even the world. For every reader (woman or man) who's felt disheartened and powerless in recent years, this book is both a roadmap and a real life inspiration--and the perfect gift for any young woman wondering what to do with her life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In CHAMPIONS FOR PEACE Judith Hicks Stiehm has written in lively, highly readable prose the life stories of the twelve women who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Beyond that, the book dramatizes the effect one person--you, perhaps?--can have. On the last page, she writes: "Each of us has different circumstances and different resources; nevertheless, each of us has the capacity to act." (p. 224)

What is most striking here is the variety in the women's origins and lives. A world map shows that three are from the United States--Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch, and Jody Williams. From Guatemala, Rigoberta Menchu Tum. Ireland, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan. Sweden, Alva Myrdal. Austria, Bertha von Suttner. Iran, Shirin Ebadi. Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi. Macedonia, Mother Teresa. Kenya, Wangari Muta Maathai. As the author tells us: "They have been young, middleaged, and old. They have been of titled nobility, and they have been subsistence farmers. They have held doctorates, and they have also been barely schooled." (p. ix)

What did these women have in common? Stiehm says, "a vision, a commitment to action, and a willingness to persevere in the face of criticism and, in some cases, imprisonment." (p ix)

This book itself has required a strong commitment on the part of the author to do the research and writing it required, and the accomplishment here reflects Stiehm's own extraordinary wisdom and qualifications as a writer, political scientist, and advocate. The preface and conclusion are especially helpful, as is the epilogue with its questions for U. S. readers and non-U.S. readers to think about.

While the life stories are those of women, the book is for and about men also: Stiehm lists the organizations and the men who have won the prize.
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Written in an accessible and vivacious style, this book brings hope. Scholar and activist (not an oxymoron), Judith Stiehm, shares her detailed research into the lives and work of the very few women (12) who have received the Nobel Peace Prize. As a scholar, she inquires about the influence of their social economic status (class, education, race, religion) on their ability to gain international recognition for peace. She finds what they share is not at all their social backgrounds, but rather their goal: recognition for justice and peace - not for their personal achievements.

The path they have chosen is hard; all were repeatedly ridiculed; several spent time in jail. In explaining why and how they suffered, Stiehm increases our understanding (p. 33) of William James who argued that working for peace required "the moral equivalent of war" (sacrifice, solidarity, loyalty). In analyzing their difficult journeys, Stiehm finds their voices agreeing that peace cannot come without justice. Several awards make this link quite explicit, for the women did not work directly for peace (Aung San Suu Kyi, 1991: Shirin Ebadi, 2003; Wangari Maathai, 2004). Yet the author teaches us that these winners of a peace prize, from Bertha von Suttner (1905) onward, always linked justice with peace.

Stiehm reveals portraits of the women's lives which show them all quite idealist, but very realist. She offers details about their work to show how they sustained this seeming contradiction. Most important is the analysis of how the women built networks and organizations to empower others, and then often, stepping aside as the work continued. They were not individual heroes; their goals depended on social organization.
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