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Tawakkol Karman

Nobel Prize Winning Human Rights Activist & Journalist


Tawakkol Karman is a Yemeni journalist, politician, human rights activist and the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. As the international face of the Yemeni uprising of 2011, she was instrumental in helping shape and give voice to the Arab Spring rebellions that pushed Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and other despotic regimes closer to democracy.

In her stirring and passionate talks around the world, this "Mother of the Revolution" speaks out regularly against regimes and rulers that seek to suppress human rights, free elections, scientific progress, and the role of women in politics and society.

Her passion for education is keenly pronounced, and drives much of her activism and speaking work. She is a firm believer in education, in particular the enlightenment of women and young girls living in oppressive systems, insisting that literacy and scholarship without restriction is the key to effecting change on a global level.



Conscious Capitalism

A self-professed global citizen who divides her time between Qatar and Istanbul, making frequent trips to the U.S. and abroad for lectures, Arab Spring participant and "Mother of the Revolution" Tawakkol Karman views herself as part of a human family, at once united and stateless but always acting in accordance with the greater good. Membership in such a family includes a responsibility towards poorer nations (like her native Yemen) that lack the power and capital of their First World counterparts. In this presentation devoted to responsible investment — or "conscious capitalism," as she calls it — Karman examines how the international business community can better serve people around the world, in particular the poor, the disenfranchised and the oppressed, by investing in such things as science, education, women's rights and digital infrastructure.

Choosing to Bring Change

During the Yemeni uprising in 2011 that helped give birth to what is known as the Arab Spring, Tawakkol Karman was instrumental in organizing student rallies to protest against Ali Abdullah Saleh's oppressive regime, eventually resulting in his removal from office. The singular vision of the Arab Spring was change; by mobilizing people who held a similar vision, Karman helped effect change on a national, regional and global level. Other societies took note of Yemen's collective push for democracy and followed suit with their own protests, creating a domino effect that reverberated beyond the Arab world. In this hopeful presentation about choosing to take a stand, and building the kind of world that people want despite numerous challenges standing in the way of progress, Karman discusses her daring efforts to foster change within her own broken country, resulting in imprisonment and exile for her in exchange for better lives for her compatriots. Espousing the notion that we are all family, Karman examines global change right now through the prism of such factors as social media, student revolt and the changing face of Muslims in the wake of the Arab Spring.

The Power of Education

Nobel Prize-winning human rights activist Tawakkol Karman battled corruption and dictatorship as part of the Arab Spring uprising, pushing for freedom and democracy in her native Yemen and beyond. Her struggle started in the universities, where she mobilized students to fight for a rational society in which education is available to all citizens regardless of gender, social status or religious creed. With an emphasis on the scientific innovation movement, in particular bringing digital technologies to underserved areas, Karman argues for the importance of education in standing up to the totalitarian regimes around the world that seek to keep citizens disconnected and uninformed as a means of maintaining rigid control.

Peaceful Resistance

One of the main tenets of the Arab Spring uprisings that began in 2011 was a peaceful, non-violent approach to resisting terrorism, extremism and totalitarian rule, deeply rooted in the methods and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. In this rousing presentation, Nobel Prize-winning activist and freedom fighter Tawakkol Karman revisits her experiences on the front lines of the Arab Spring freedom and democracy movement, focusing on the student movement in Yemen and beyond, which took to the streets in great numbers across the Arab World, employing peaceful resistance as a means of achieving its goals.

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