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Alva Myrdal
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Diplomat
    (January 31, 1902-February 1, 1986)
    Born in Uppsala, Sweden
    Birth name was Alva Reimer
    Married to Nobel Prize winning economist Gunnar Myrdal
    Named head of the UN Department of Social Affairs (1949) and director of the Department of Social Studies at UNESCO (1959)
    Swedish ambassador to India (1955-61)
    Elected to the Swedish parliament (1962)
    Delegate to the UN disarmament conference in Geneva (1962-73)
    Consultative cabinet member for disarmament (1966-73)
    Co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work for disarmament (1982)
    She was an advocate of eugenics and forced sterilization.
    She said that the US and USSR were both 'creating a cult of violence.'
    Her son Jan portrayed her as a cold, distant and manipulative parent in his memoirs.
    She was married to Gunnar for 62 years until her death.
    In addition to disarmament, she was an advocate for women's rights and improved education.
    She played a significant role in designing the Swedish embassy in India.
    She was the first woman named to head a UN department.
    On winning the Einstein Peace Prize (1980), she said, 'I have, despite all disillusionment, never, never allowed myself to feel like giving up. This is my message today; it is not worthy of a human being to give up.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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