What you need to know about the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize

This morning, the Nobel Committee announced this year’s recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, capping a week of honoring incredible contributions to fields like medicine and literature. This year, the prestigious award is being shared by the four organizations that make up the National Dialogue Quartet of Tunisia in recognition for their efforts to maintain peace and democracy in the wake of 2011’s Jasmine Revolution.

Four years ago, peaceful protests in Tunisia not only forced Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign as president, an office he’d held since 1987, but also launched what became known as the Arab Spring. Tunisia’s uprising inspired similar protests in Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Libya, sparking waves of change across the Middle East.

But overthrowing the regime was only the first step in building democracy, and that’s where the work of the National Dialogue Quartet comes in. The organization is comprised of four organizations: the Tunisian General Labor Union; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Layers.

The group came together in 2013 to help mediate a transition to an interim government, a move that’s credited with maintaining peace and stability at a critical juncture. At the time, a great deal of unrest and a number of political assassinations were sweeping the country, and could have undermined the road to democracy.

“These organizations represent different sectors and values in Tunisian society: working life and welfare, principles of the rule of law and human rights,” the Nobel’s official announcement reads. “On this basis, the Quartet exercised its role as a mediator and driving force to advance peaceful democratic development in Tunisia with great moral authority.”

“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,” Kaci Kullmann Five, the Nobel Committee chair, said in her announcement.

The significance of the Quartet’s work is underlined by the fact that other Arab Spring countries have fallen into instability, including Egypt and Libya. In Yemen and Syria, civil war broke out following crackdowns on popular protests.

The Quartet, which has no official spokesperson, was honored. Houcine Abassi, leader of the Tunisian General Labor Union, told the Associated Press that, “it’s a prize that crowns more than two years of efforts deployed by the Quartet when the country was in danger from all fronts.”

For Mohammed Fadhel Mafoudh, leader of the Tunisian Order of Laywers, the award is a message that “everything can be settled with dialogue and all can be settled in a climate of peace, and that the language of weapons leads us nowhere.”

Although Tunisia still faces difficult obstacles, the work of the Quartet has undoubtedly helped the country navigate through one of the most challenges times for a new government.

Congratulations to the National Dialogue Quartet of Tunisia, and to all the other 2015 Nobel recipients! Thanks for making the world a better, safer place!

(Images via Twitter)