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Peace and Social Justice Workers Receive Alternative Nobel Prize

A jury has named winners from Germany, India, Somalia and the United States as recipients of the 2008 Right Livelihood Awards, often called the Alternative Nobel Prize.

Monika Hauser

Cologne doctor Monika Hauser was honored for her work in crisis regions

Two of the award winners named Wednesday, Oct. 1, were from the North and have worked to create ties with the so-called developing world, Jakob von Uexkuell of the Right Livelihood Foundation said.

Four of the five prize winners were women, he noted.

German doctor aids victims of sexual violence

German gynaecologist Monika Hauser, founder of Medica Mondiale was awarded for "her tireless commitment to working with women who have experienced the most horrific sexualized violence in some of the most dangerous countries in the world," jury member Marianne Andersson said.

Hauser and her organization have worked with women and girls in war and post-war conflict zones ranging from Afghanistan to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Jakob von Uexkuell

Jakob von Uexkuell founded the award

Krishnammal and Sankaralingam Jagannathan of India, and their organization Land for the Tillers' Freedom (LAFTI) were cited for "realizing in practice the Gandhian vision of social justice and sustainable human development," the jury said of their work to distribute land to the landless.

Amy Goodman of the US, who founded the daily grassroots global TV/radio news hour Democracy Now! was honored for "developing an innovative model of truly independent political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media."

Asha Hagi of Somalia was lauded "for continuing to lead at great personal risk the female participation in the peace and reconciliation process in her war-ravaged country."

Hagi along with other women founded in 2000 the so-called Sixth Clan, the clan of women, giving women a voice in the peace process in Somalia.

Addressing today's urgent challenges

This year's award is worth 2 million kronor ($300,000, 200,000 euros) and was to be shared equally between the four award winners.

A total of 91 candidates from 44 countries were nominated.

Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull created the prize in 1980 "to honor and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today."

The awards are to be presented at a ceremony in the Swedish parliament on Dec. 8.

Due to "old age" Sankaralingam Jagannathan was not able to travel to Stockholm, Andersson said.

Last year, the prize was awarded to legal scholar Christopher Weeramantry from Sri Lanka, Dekkha Ibrahim Abdi of Kenya for bridging ethnic and cultural divides, Percy and Louise Schmeiser of Canada for work against genetic engineering of crops, and Bangladesh's Grameen Shakti organization was cited for its work to promote solar energy for the rural poor.

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