In 2011, the sweet scent of Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution finally reached Yemen. Its leading proponent there was a slender young woman in her thirties named Tawakkol Karman, who earned the nickname "Iron Woman" for refusing to wear the black niqab, thus clearly revealing her face to international media and global policy makers. In the days that followed, Karman traveled the world in her trademark colorful, flowered headscarves, spreading word of her vision of a democratic and peaceful Yemen. So convincing was she that the Nobel Committee chose to support her struggle by awarding her the Nobel Peace Prize, making her the youngest Nobel Laureate in history. The Nobel Committee said, "In the most trying circumstances, both before and during the 'Arab Spring', Tawakkol Karman has played a leading part in the struggle for women's rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen." Throughout 2011, Tawakkol Karman directed massive Yemeni protests from her hand-sewn tent erected in Sanaa's Al-Tahrir "Change Square," calling for the end of Ali Abdallah Saleh's regime. In November 2011, after more than three decades in power, Saleh finally resigned. Karman is now the youngest member of The Global Compact, a 26-member, high-level panel within the UN whose mission is to prepare recommendations to manage reachable and sustainable human development goals. Under numerous death threats, false imprisonments, beatings, and once nearly stabbed by opponents, she has remained faithful to her conviction that women have a major role to play in healing the contagious conflicts of the world. According to Karman, it is time for women in Yemen and around the world to stand up without asking permission. Drawing on her personal experiences, Karman delves into her childhood to share the influences that made her able to fight when the time was right - as well as offering an inspiring vision of what women can contribute when they take a place at the table.
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Tawakkol Karman is the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, as well as the first Arab woman to receive the honor. In 2005 she founded Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC).She currently sits on The Global Impact panel which advises the United Nations on its post-2015 global development agenda. The mother of three, she lives in Yemen. Diane Ducret is a renowned French author and historian and the bestselling author of Dictator's Wives, which has been translated into 21 languages.
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