Though the Arab Spring didn’t bring Egypt and other Middle East and North African countries far, the hopefulness and glasnost it inspired was felt across the region thanks to its success in Tunisia. There, the Jasmine Revolution of 2011 toppled the dictator Ben Ali, but when the ensuing social unrest teetered on the brink of a civil war in 2013, the National Dialogue Quartet had stepped in to democratise the political process in the country. Only a few years after the revolution kicked off, the Quartet helped ring in a constitutional government and fundamental rights for all. For this noble achievement, it won the 2015 Nobel Prize for peace.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee, as opposed to the Swedish one that picks the laureates of the other Nobel Prizes, lauded the Quartet, a coalition of four civil society organisations, “for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011”. The chair of the committee added that it was an “inspiration to all those who seek to promote peace and democracy”.
The committee expressed its wish that the award would help stabilise the country, which continues to face social and economic challenges. “More than anything, the prize is intended as an encouragement to the Tunisian people, who despite major challenges have laid the groundwork for a national fraternity which the Committee hopes will serve as an example to be followed by other countries,” it wrote in a press statement.