This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet.
The Nobel Committee awarded the prize for the quartet’s “decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011,” the poplar protests that topped the government of president Zine El Abiding Ben Ali and began the Arab Spring.
A coalition of civil society organisations formed the quartet in 2013, when political instability and widespread social unrest threatened the democratic process in Tunisia.
The committee chose the quartet—made up of several individual organizations, including the Tunisian General Labour Union, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League, and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers—in the hopes of encouraging other countries that were once swept up in the Arab Spring to follow in Tunisia’s example. The prize was awarded to the quartet as a whole, not to the individual organizations.
They played a crucial role in establishing a democratic constitutional system, which included a government that ensured the entire Tunisian population has fundamental rights, irrespective of political or religious beliefs, the Nobel committee said.
The announcement made today (Oct. 9) was particularly surprising—many had predicted the prize would go to Angela Merkel for her role in Europe’s refugee crisis, Pope Francis for improving diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, or John Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif for their deal over Iran’s nuclear program.
There were 273 candidates for the 2015 peace prize, which included 68 organizations and 205 people.