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How does the Nobel Peace Prize work? – Adeline Cuvelier and Toril Rokseth


What do a seventeen-year-old Pakistani, a Norwegian explorer, a Tibetan monk, and an American pastor have in common? They were all awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize. Among the top prestigious awards
in the world, this prize has honored
some of the most celebrated and revered international figures
and organizations in history. To understand how it all got started,
we have to go back to the 1800s. Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel was then mostly known
for the invention of dynamite, a breakthrough which launched his career
as a successful inventor and businessman. 30 years later, he had become
extremely wealthy, but never married, and had no children. When his will was opened after his death, it came as a surprise that his fortune
was to be used for five prizes in physics, chemistry,
medicine, literature, and peace. These prizes illustrated his lifelong
commitment to sciences and his passion for literature. But what about peace? Because Nobel’s name was tied
to inventions used in the war industry, many have assumed that he created
the peace prize out of regret. However, this is all speculation
as he never expressed any such sentiments, and his inventions were also used
for constructive purposes. Instead, many historians connect Alfred
Nobel’s interest for the peace cause to his decade-long friendship
and correspondence with an Austrian pacifist
named Bertha Von Suttner. Von Suttner was one of the leaders
of the international peace movement, and in 1905, after Nobel’s death, she became the first woman
to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Nobel’s will outlined three criteria
for the Peace Prize, which unlike the other
Sweden-based prizes, would be administered in Norway. Disarmament, peace congresses,
and brotherhood between nations. These standards have since been expanded to include
other ways of promoting peace, such as human rights and negotiations. And the prize doesn’t just have to go
to one person. About a third of Noble Peace Prizes
have been shared by two or three laureates. So how do nominations for the prize work? According to the Nobel Foundation, a valid nomination can come from
a member of a national assembly, state government, or an international court. Eligible nominators also include
university rectors, professors of the social sciences,
history, philosophy, law, and theology, and previous recipients
of the Peace Prize. But if you want to know more about
who was recently nominated, you’ll have to be patient. All information about nominations
remains secret for 50 years. Take Martin Luther King Jr. We didn’t actually know who nominated him
until 2014. His nominators turned out
to be the Quakers, who had won the prize previously, and eight members
of the Swedish Parliament. There’s no limit to the number of times
a person or organization can be nominated. In fact, Jane Addams, recognized as the founder
of social work in the United States, was nominated 91 times before
finally being awarded the prize. The absence of a laureate can also
be symbolic. The 1948 decision not to award the prize
following the death of Mahatma Gandhi has been interpreted as an attempt
to respectfully honor the so-called missing laureate. As with the other Nobel Prizes, the Peace Prize can’t be
awarded posthumously. The secret selection process
takes almost a year, and is carried out by
the five appointed members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee who are forbidden from having
any official political function in Norway. Starting with a large pool of nominations, exceeding 300 in recent years, they access each candidate’s work
and create a short list. Finally, the chairman
of the Nobel Committee publicly announces
the laureate in October. The awards ceremony takes place
on December 10th, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. The prize itself includes a gold medal inscribed with the Latin words,
“Pro pace et fraternitate gentium,” or “For the peace and brotherhood of men,” as well as a diploma
and a large cash prize. Recently, it’s been
8 million Swedish kronor, or roughly a million US dollars, which is split in the case
of multiple laureates. And while laureates can use the prize
money as they choose, in recent years, many have donated it
to humanitarian or social causes. For many years, the Nobel Peace Prize
was predominately awarded to European and North American men. But in recent years, significant changes
have been taking place, making the prize more global than ever. 23 organizations and 103 individuals, that’s 87 men and 16 women, have made up the 126 Nobel Peace Prize
laureates in history. They include Desmond Tutu for his
nonviolent campaign against apartheid in South Africa, Jody Williams for her campaign to ban
and clear anti-personnel mines, Rigoberta Menchú Tum for her work
for social justice and reconciliation based on respect for the rights
of indigenous peoples, Martti Ahtisaari for his efforts
to resolve international conflicts in Namibia, Kosovo, and Indonesia, and Aung San Suu Kyi for her nonviolent
struggle for democracy and human rights in Myanmar. They’re just a few examples of the people
who have inspired us, challenged us, and demonstrated through their actions that there are many paths to peace.

Joseph Wolf

25 Comments

  1. Here is a fun fact: Nobel didn't include a Mathematics Nobel Prize because his ex's boyfriend is a mathematician.

    Sorry, mathematicians. Earning prizes isn't easy as pi.

  2. 2019
    Every soldier who dies for his country deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and
    not some policy-maker or statesman or think-tank or those who hide in big buildings
    and behind wooden tables.
    Otherwise, enough with this Nobel Prize! Scrap it all together!
    Awards are only for the entertainment of the 1% rich the world over.
    Awards are meaningless!

  3. 2019
    Every soldier who dies for his country deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and
    not some policy-maker or statesman or think-tank or those who hide in big buildings
    and behind wooden tables.
    Otherwise, enough with this Nobel Prize! Scrap it all together!
    Awards are only for the entertainment of the 1% rich the world over.
    Awards are meaningless!

  4. It doesn't really matter how it works, it's been made worthless when they gave to Obama just for getting elected. Did nothing, just won the office. So i guess every other politician that ever won should get a peace prize too. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for giving it to him if he actually achieved something. Doesn't seem like he did, other than just existing. But they just gave it to him because they were in love with him, just blind fanboyism. So it's a worthless prize now, I'll never be impressed by it.

  5. If I won that cash prize, I’d donate it to animal shelters all around the world 🤗🌱🌍💕 #GoVeganPleaseAndThankYou

  6. Nobel prize is overrated and double standard… everything depends of bunch of people who thinks they have the right to pick and chose who gets it or not. Just like any other global entity.

  7. Remember when they gave the Nobel Prize to yo moma for sleeping with 2 gang chiefs, an stopping the gun violence in the streets of Chicago

  8. "Secret" Norwegian society which picks a winner to cleanse the conscience of a war profiteer. Just saying.

  9. 3:24~こちらの翻訳の方がより元の文章に合うのではないでしょうか

    The absence of a laureate can also be symbolic.
    ある種の象徴として、賞を授与しない年もありました
    The 1948 decision not to award the prize following the death of Mahatma Gandhi
    マハトマ・ガンディーの死後、1948年に賞の授与を行わなかったことは
    has been interpreted as an attempt to respectfully honor the so-called missing lauriete.
    いわゆる「不在の受賞者」を敬意をもって讃えるための試みであったとされています

    ご意見お待ちしております

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