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AMERICUS, GA (March 20, 2018) — Jaha Dukureh, a Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) alumna, has been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her work towards ending female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage in her home country of The Gambia in West Africa and across the world.

Born in a small Gambian village in 1989, Dukureh was a victim of FGM at just one week old. Her arranged marriage to an unknown older man at age 15 brought her to New York City. After two months, Dukureh was able to leave her husband and continue her education in the U.S., where she became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2015.

Dukureh was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian parliament member Jette Christensen. “ I nominated Jaha because she is living proof that the belief of a single person can cause them to change the world,” said Christensen. “I introduced Jaha as a hero who has done the impossible. Several times. 200 million women suffer every day from the injuries of FGM. If peace is the absence of violence, we won't get it until this is stopped. And if there's someone who can fix it, is it Jaha Dukureh.” (sources: Facebook, Jaha’s Promise; African Leadership Magazine)

There are 329 candidates for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the second highest number of candidates ever. It is awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses,” according to founder Alfred Nobel’s will. Only 16 women have been awarded the prize since it was introduced in 1901.

“My whole country is celebrating with me,” said Dukureh on her nomination. “This has brought the global FGM movement to the forefront of the conversation. This is not a win for me, but a challenge and an opportunity. An opportunity to get the world to listen and take action. Ending FGM is not a one person journey.” (source: Facebook, Jaha Gambia Dukureh)

Dukureh earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and management online at GSW in 2013. “We are so proud of Jaha,” said GSW School of Business Dean Elizabeth Wilson, Ph.D. “Even while completing her degree online from her Atlanta home, she was leading the fight against FGM and successfully changing laws. We are proud to have played a small part in this amazing woman's journey and wish her well as she continues to make a difference in the world!”

Remarkably, Dukureh is not the first GSW alumna to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. President Jimmy Carter won the esteemed award in 2002, donating a huge sum of his winnings to the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, a unit of GSW.

The same year Dukureh graduated from GSW, she founded the non-profit organization Safe Hands for Girls, which provides support for survivors of FGM and advocates for an end to FGM practices. She was then part of the movement that successfully banned FGM in The Gambia in 2015, a journey chronicled in the 2017 documentary “Jaha’s Promise.”

By age 25, Dukureh’s activism earned her a place on Time Magazine’s 2016 list of 100 Most Influential People in the World and on New African Magazine’s 2017 list of 100 Most Influential Africans. She won the Humanitarian of the Year award at the African Diaspora Awards in 2017 and just last month, was named the first Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Africa by UN Women. Her appointment coincided with the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

Dukureh lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and three children. She is continuing her work to end FGM, drawing inspiration from her own journey and the need to protect her daughter and the millions of other young women at risk.  

Jaha Dukureh

GSW School of Business alumna Jaha Dukureh nominated for 2018 Nobel Peace Prize 

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