Myrdal, Alva (älˈvä mĭrˈdäl, Swed. mürˈdäl) [key], 1902–86, Swedish sociologist, diplomat, and political leader. As a sociologist in the 1930s, she initiated a national program establishing state responsibility for child care. She actively participated in the United Nations as head of the department of social welfare (1949–50) and as director of the department of social sciences of UNESCO (1950–56). She was ambassador (1955–61) to India, Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and Nepal. After she served as a member of Sweden's parliament (1962–70), she led Sweden's delegation to the UN Disarmament Conference in Geneva (1962–73) and was minister of disarmament and church affairs (1967–73). For her work in the nuclear disarmament movement, she won the 1982 Nobel Peace Prize. Her writings include The Game of Disarmament (1976) and War, Weapons and Everyday Violence (1977). She was married to Gunnar Myrdal.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.