Nobel Peace Prize awarded

Winner The Quartet feels gratitude, resolves to keep working despite the danger

Sarah Bostock
The Foreigner

“We shed tears of joy [when] we learned that we had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015. Words couldn’t express the pride we felt,” Houcine Abassi told reporters.

“Getting this prize also increases our responsibility, however. The dangers are still lurking and the need for dialogue remains,” NRK quoted him as saying.

The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet is composed of union L’Union générale tunisienne du travail (UGTT), employers’ organisation L’Union tunisienne de l’industrie, du commerce et de l’artisanat (UTICA), human rights organisation La Ligue tunisienne des droits de l’homme (LTDH), and national lawyers’ association L’Ordre national des avocats de Tunisie (ONAT).

The Quartet’s Houcine Abassi (Secretary General of UGTT), Wided Bouchamaoui (UTICA President), Abdessattar Ben Moussa (President of LTDH), and Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh (ONAT President) met the international press at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo on December 9.

Speaking at the conference, Bouchamaoui stated that “we now must find a way to say no to terrorists, no to arms, no to wars.”

“We have succeeded on a political transition. We now need to succeed in economic transition,” the Associated Press reported her as saying.

The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2015 for its “decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia” in the wake of the 2011 Jasmine Revolution, the Nobel Institute announced in its statement in October this year.

It came about in 2013, when the democratization process was in danger of collapsing after political assassinations and social unrest. The Quartet established an alternative, peaceful political process at a time when Tunisia was close to civil war, according to the Nobel Institute.

“We are Ambassadors for Peace now, and we will not fail Nobel Committee,” said the UGTT’s Houcine Abassi.

The Peace Prize was presented at the ceremony on December 10 in Oslo City Hall. Following the program was the traditional torchlight procession outside the Grand Hotel, organized by the Norwegian Peace Council, and the Nobel Banquet, hosted by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Friday December 11 saw the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, held this year at the Telenor Arena and hosted by U.S. TV star Jay Leno.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the Dec. 18, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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