Ilwad Elman

Two Muslim Activists Are Up for a Nobel Peace Prize

Get to know Hajer Sharief and Ilwad Elman

Ilwad Elman

When it comes to activism, no name has been uttered as much as Greta Thunberg’s, making her the leading candidate for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. But although her win would be undoubtedly well deserved, two equally impressive Muslim activists might beat her to it. 

Libyan law student and activist Hajer Sharief and Somali human rights activist Ilwad Elman announced their nominations last week ahead of the Nobel Committee’s decision this Friday. Both women are known for their peacekeeping efforts in their respective countries. 

They are both also part of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s initiative Extremely Together, which is comprised of a collective of 10 young leaders from across the globe who are working towards fighting violent extremism. 

Hajer Sharief has been known for her work in Libya since 2011, where she launched her non-profit organization, Together We Build it at just 19-years-old. Through it, Sharief works to empower women and youth to participate in the political and public sphere. She’s also behind the nation’s first civil society network, which brings together organizations and individuals working towards women’s peace and security in Libya.

Ilwad’s profile is equally impressive, taking after her father, Elman Ali Ahmed who was assassinated for his social activism in 1996. The 29-year-old activist returned to her native city, Mogadishu to run the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre in Mogadishu. The organisation, which is dedicated to peace efforts, is behind a number of initiatives, among them Sister Somalia, the country’s first rape crisis centre to support survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

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