Monday, July 04, 2005
Seven nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize are Khmer women
One thousand women from over 150 countries were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year in an attempt to call international attention to the important role women play in challenging harmful social and cultural barriers and creating peace in their communities and the world.
The names of all 1,000 women were released at a press conference held in Bangkok on Wednesday, June 29.
Eight of those nominated live in Cambodia. They range in age from 33 to 63, from prominent activists to humble village women.
They work on a variety of issues, including domestic violence, peace education, demining and micro-financing.
All share a deep commitment to bettering life for women here, in a country still recovering from the deep scars of over 30 years of civil war. And all have unique ways of working towards their goals.
-Oung Chanthol founded the Cambodian Women's Crisis Center, which has served over 55,000 survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking since 1997.
-Prak Sokhany has devoted her life to peace building by training NGO workers, government officials and entire communities in conflict resolution.
-Dr. Pung Chhiv Kek Galabru founded the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO).
-Mu Sochua is the deputy head of the steering committee for the Sam Rainsy Party and wrote the Prevention of Domestic Violence law, now before the Parliament.
-Chea Vannath was forced to work in labor camps under the Khmer Rouge and now organizes public debates on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
-Boua Chanthol helped set up a small savings programs.
-Oddom Van Syvorn is a quiet, rural woman who has shown extraordinary courage and dedication working with women in her small village.
In addition to the seven Khmer women nominated, Emma Leslie, and Australian national who lives and works in Cambodia, also was nominated. Leslie developed peace education for Cambodian high schools.
The 1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 project began in 2003 and relied on many coordinators and volunteers from 20 different regions of the world to identify and document the 1,000 nominees.
At least one Cambodian nominee is overwhelmed with gratitude.
"This is more than an honor. It's more than I could have ever dreamed of," said Mu Sochua, one of the nominees and a former Minster of Women's and Veteran's Affairs. "We have heroines in ever corner of the world, in every village in our country, who are so rarely recognized ... the prize is really for them."
By Leonie Sherman
By Leonie Sherman