Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has congratulated the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for winning the Nobel Peace Prize for helping the country’s transition to democracy after the 2011 Arab Spring revolution.
In a letter written to the civil society group, the Dalai Lama said, “The Quartet’s persistent efforts to bring divergent parties back to the process of dialogue and reconciliation in the face of enormous challenges has been exemplary.”
“What they have achieved is an inspiration to all of us who seek to promote freedom and democracy through peaceful dialogue and non-violence,” wrote the Dalai Lama, who won the coveted prize in 1989.
“Despite the many ongoing conflicts and violent challenges we confront today,” the 80-year-old spiritual leader said, “I remain convinced that if we recall that we are all brothers and sisters, that we all belong to one human family, we will be able to bring about a more peaceful world.”
He expressed hope that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize would serve to encourage many other individuals and organisations committed to resolving conflict through dialogue and peaceful means, rather than resort to force.
The quartet is made up of four organizations — the Tunisian General Labour Union, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League, and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.
The group was created in 2013, when the security of the country was threatened following the assassination of two key politicians and ensuing clashes between Islamists and secular parts of society.
The Nobel committee, while declaring the Quartet as the winner, said the group had made a decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.
“It established an alternative, peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war. It was thus instrumental in enabling Tunisia, in the space of a few years, to establish a constitutional system of government guaranteeing fundamental rights for the entire population,” said the Nobel Committee.
Tunisia’s revolution — also known as the Jasmine Revolution — began in late 2010 and led to the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, followed by the country’s first free democratic elections last year.