Africa's Peacemakers

Nobel Peace Laureates of African Descent

Edited by Adekaye Adebajo


A unique and highly readable collection of biographical essays, critically interrogating the contributions of the thirteen individuals of African descent who have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
As Africa and its diaspora commemorate fifty years of post-independence Pan-Africanism, this unique volume provides profound insight into the thirteen prominent individuals of African descent who have won the Nobel Peace Prize since 1950.

From the first American president of African descent, Barack Obama, whose career was inspired by the civil rights and anti-apartheid struggles promoted by fellow Nobel Peace laureates Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and Albert Luthuli; to influential figures in peacemaking such as Ralph Bunche, Anwar Sadat, Kofi Annan, and F.W. De Klerk; as well as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, Wangari Maathai, and Mohamed El-Baradei, who have been variously involved in women's rights, environmental protection, and nuclear disarmament, Africa's Peacemakers reveals how this remarkable collection of individuals have changed the world - for better or worse.

Author Bio

Dr. Adekeye Adebajo has been Executive Director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution, Cape Town, South Africa, since 2003. He previously served as Director of the Africa Programme of the New York-based International Peace Institute, when he was also an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). He also served on United Nations missions in South Africa, Western Sahara, and Iraq. He obtained his doctorate from Oxford University in England, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the author of four books, and the editor or co-editor of a further seven.

Table of Contents

  • Part I: Introduction
    • 1. Obama's Nobel Ancestors: From Bunche to Barack and Beyond - Adekeye Adebajo
    • 2. Barack Obama: Between Racial Compatriots and Nobel Ancestors - Ali A. Mazrui
  • Part II: The Three African-Americans
    • 3. Ralph Bunche: The Scholar-Diplomat - James Jonah
    • 4. Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Great Provocateur - Lee A. Daniels
    • 5. Ralph Bunche, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Barack Obama: Three African-American Nobel Laureates Debate War and Peace - Pearl Robinson
  • Part III: The Four South Africans
    • 6. Albert Luthuli: The African Moses - Chris Saunders
    • 7. Desmond Tutu: The Wounded Healer - Maureen Isaacson
    • 8. Nelson Mandela: The Oratory of the Black Pimpernel - Elleke Boehmer
    • 9. Frederik Willem de Klerk: The Pragmatic Peacemaker - Gregory Houston
  • Part IV: The Two Egyptians
    • 10. Anwar Sadat: The Tragic Peacemaker - Boutros Boutros-Ghali
    • 11. Mohamed El-Baradei: The Rocket Man - Morad Abou-Sabé
  • Part V: The Kenyan and the Ghanaian
    • 12. Wangari Maathai: The Earth Mother - Janice Golding
    • 13. Kofi Annan: The Soft-Spoken Prophet - Gwendolyn Mikell
  • Part VI: The Two Liberians
    • 14. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: The Iron Lady - Adekeye Adebajo
    • 15. Leymah Gbowee: The Prayerful Peace Warrior - Rosaline Daniel


'This clear, concise and useful bibliographical work will be of special interest to those engaged within international affairs, history or peace studies, although its accessible style also makes it a worthwhile read for the general reader.'
Africa At LSE

'The lively and engaging essays present a variety of perspectives and a plurality of different lenses for examining their subjects. This makes each chapter very unique in both its scope, tone, and contribution. Africa’s Peacemakers could likely be read as a whole or as a contribution to work on any of the individuals discussed within.'
Journal of Retracing Africa

'An interdisciplinary work that is appropriate for use in undergraduate seminars on Africa. The writing style also makes it appropriate for general audiences. The book is a welcome contribution to the still rather limited literature on African successes.'
African Studies Quarterly

'This is a superbly documented and elegantly written book full of rich nuggets as well as profound insights into the lives, motivations, accomplishments, and disappointments of African Nobel Peace Laureats and those of African descent. The book demonstrates - through the work of the 13 laureates - that Africa was not just a passive beneficiary of, but active contributor to, global peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.'
Ambassador (Professor) Ibrahim Gambari, Former UN Special Representative to Angola and Darfur, and former UN Special Envoy to Myanmar

'Dr. Adekeye Adebajo has produced yet another creative book on yet another important aspect of Africa, the stories of Nobel laureates of African descent, from both the continent and the diaspora. The book is deeply insightful and remarkably candid, as human as it is humane, delicately linking ideals with pragmatism, successes with failures, and enduring challenges. It is a book to enjoy and from which to learn.'
Ambassador (Dr.) Francis Mading Deng, Permanent Representative of South Sudan to the UN

'This volume is an innovative review of the contributions of Africans and the African diaspora to international peace and security and to human rights as seen through their exemplary accomplishment: the Nobel Peace Prize.'
Ambassador (Professor) Donald F. McHenry, Former US Special Representative to the UN, and former US Special Envoy to Nigeria


Publication Date: 13 February 2014
336 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781780329437
Hardback: 9781780329420
eBook ePub: 9781780329451
eBook PDF: 9781780329444
eBook Kindle: 9781780329468

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