Human rights leader, 2018 Greeley Scholar, will lead programs for campus, community

2018 Greeley Scholar Tawakkol Karman
Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman, UMass Lowell’s 2018 Greeley Scholar for Peace Studies, will lead programs for the campus and community during her visit to campus in April.


Contact: Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944,

LOWELL, Mass. – Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman is UMass Lowell’s 2018 Greeley Scholar for Peace Studies. 

Karman is committed to the nonviolent struggle for the right of expression, the safety of women and women’s rights to fully participate in peacekeeping efforts in her home country of Yemen. A mother of three, she is a human rights activist, journalist, politician and president of the nongovernmental organization Women Journalists Without Chains. She is also the general coordinator of the Peaceful Youth Revolution Council, an advisory board member for Transparency International and a member of several other international human rights organizations.

Karman is the first Arab woman and second Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the first Yemeni to be so honored and, at age 32, the second-youngest person to receive the award.

Bold and outspoken, Karman has been imprisoned on a number of occasions for her pro-democracy, pro-human rights protests. Within Yemen’s youth movement, she is known as the “mother of the revolution,” “the iron woman” and “the lady of the Arab Spring.” 

“In every liberation process and social change, courageous women were there to inspire men and women to face the challenge bravely,” she has said. 

Karman’s often quoted philosophy – “We do not fear the future, we make it” – has inspired countless individuals around the world. She shared the 2011 Noble Peace Prize with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, who was UMass Lowell’s Greeley Scholar that same year.

Greeley Scholars are selected for their achievements as humanitarians and their effective efforts to promote peace and conflict resolution at the local, regional, national or international level. The honor is named for the late Rev. Dana McLean Greeley, who was a longtime Unitarian Universalist minister in Concord. 

“I am impressed by the level of activity and commitment Ms. Karman displays as an advocate of human rights around the globe. Her visit to UMass Lowell will be an incredible educational opportunity for our campus and the Greater Lowell community,” said Robert Gamache, the UMass Lowell professor emeritus who co-directs the Greeley Scholar Advisory Committee and the university’s Peace and Conflict Studies Institute (PACSI) with Imogene Stulken, campus minister. 

As the Greeley Scholar for Peace Studies, Karman will lead a series of programs for UMass Lowell students, faculty, staff and the community over a two-week period in April. Karman is scheduled to guest lecture in courses on politics, conflict resolution, diplomacy and more.

Karman will be the keynote speaker at the university’s annual Day Without Violence on Tuesday, April 3. The theme of this year’s talk is nonviolence as a means of struggle, change and success. The free event, which is open to the campus and community, runs from 12:30 to 2 p.m. and will be held at University Crossing student center’s Moloney Hall, 220 Pawtucket St., Lowell. Parking will be available in the Salem Street lot, across from the venue. For more about the Day Without Violence and other local appearances by Karman, visit

As a Greeley Scholar, Karman joins an esteemed list of human rights leaders who have also received the honor. Along with Gbowee, a grassroots organizer who helped end the Second Liberian Civil War, scholars have included Noy Thrupkaew, whose investigative reporting has exposed human trafficking and labor exploitation across the globe; women’s rights activist and peace-builder Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini; Albie Sachs, an architect of South African democracy and contemporary of Nelson Mandela; John Prendergast, human rights activist and founder of The Enough Project, who frequently collaborates with George Clooney; Linda Biehl, who forgave the South African men who killed her daughter Amy and now teaches about restorative justice and reconciliation with them; Padraig O’Malley, an award-winning author and expert on democratic transitions in societies, especially South Africa, Northern Ireland and Iraq; and the late Gavriel Salomon, who founded and directed the Center for Research on Peace Education in Israel. 

The Greeley Scholar program is funded by the Greeley Endowment for Peace Studies, established with a gift from the Dana McLean Greeley Foundation for Peace and Justice and a contribution from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts via the UMass Foundation.

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 18,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.