Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Information
PeaceJam Northwest Annual Youth Conference 2011
Rigoberta Menchú Tum
"This world is not going to change unless we are willing to change ourselves."
In 1992 Rigoberta Menchú Tum was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work for the rights of the Maya of Guatemala and native people evereywhere. She was the first Indian ever to receive the award and one of only a handful of women.
In 1996, all of Rigoberta’s non-violent work, along with the struggles of so many other activists, helped lead to a peace accord in Guatemala. This agreement ended Guatemala’s 36-year civil war and gave many rights back to the Mayan people.
After the civil war ended, Rigoberta fought to have the Guatemalan political and military establishment tried in a court of law. She knew the trial would never happen in Guatemala, so she took the case to Spanish courts. In December 2006 the Spanish courts called for the extradition of seven former members of the Guatemalan government on charges of torture and genocide against the Mayan people of Guatemala.
In 2007, Rigoberta Menchú Tum ran for President of Guatemala, campaigning around the country for the rights of all Guatemalans. Although she did not win, she continues to work for justice and peace for her people.
Read more of Rigoberta's story here.