Eight Palestinian and two Iraqis are just some of the dozens of Arab women among counterparts from 153 countries nominated for this year's prize.

The list includes women from war-ravaged countries, including 11 from Afghanistan and 16 from Sudan.

India led the list with 91 nominations and China, including Hong Kong, had 90. 

"The prize will give prominence to the winners and it will draw attention to peace activities and women issues," Swiss ambassador to Jordan Paul Widmer said on Thursday.

He said none of the women nominees will claim the prize for themselves. If won, the prize will be used to "set up a fund in the name of women around the world".

The initiative, dubbed "1000 Women for Nobel Peace Prize 2005", is the brainchild of Swiss parliament member Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold, who proposed in 2003 that a Nobel Prize should be bestowed upon women with effective contributions to world peace, according to Widmer.

He added it took her two years to select the nominees.

Symbolic gesture

Swiss envoys worldwide announced the nominations simultaneously in different countries on Wednesday, Widmer said.

Ayda Abu-Rass, a regional coordinator for the project, said while the list names 999 women, the 1000th nominee will remain empty - a symbolic gesture to women with peace achievements, but who do not have a chance to be nominated.