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Politics of the Nobel Peace Prize

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The Nobel Peace Prize has frequently been called “the world’s most prestigious prize.” Some have nevertheless criticized it for being too political. The prize is indeed political in the sense that it deals with important political values and norms, and with political persons, organizations, and institutions. Peace obviously has to do with politics.

Yet, the prize is not political in the narrow sense of the term. Although for too long it focused on persons and organizations in Europe and North America, since the 1960s the laureates have come from all continents except Australia. The Nobel Committee never forgets that more than 60% of the world’s population lives in Asia. In recent decades, there have been many laureates from Asia, including this year’s Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai.

Some of the laureates are quite far to the left in their national politics, and some are to the right. They represent many different religions, races, and countries. Sixteen of them are women – a high number only compared to the number of women who have won other Nobel prizes.

If most of the 125 laureates have anything in common, I would point to vision and courage. They have ambitious goals, and in trying to reach those goals, many of them have shown great personal courage. This is definitely the case with this year’s laureates, with their sharp focus, respectively, on the abolition of child labor and on girls’ rights to an education, and the way in which their lives have been dramatically threatened.

Another frequent criticism of the prize is that it lacks real substance. It is definitely true that the prize is no magic wand. You cannot wave it and make whatever problem it addresses disappear. No one can produce such results. A committee of five unknown Norwegians certainly cannot.

The prize is primarily a high honor – possibly the highest honor that can be bestowed on a person or an organization. For the lesser-known laureates, it also acts as a loudspeaker, opening virtually all doors for them. Some laureates have even been protected by the prize.

Occasionally, the prize may produce some political result. The Nobel Committee has given prizes, for instance, to four South Africans: Albert Lutuli (1960), Desmond Tutu (1984), Nelson Mandela (1993), and F.W. de Klerk (1993). Granting Lutuli the prize, in particular, may have helped strengthen the opposition to apartheid.

Lech Walesa has many times claimed that without the Nobel Peace Prize (which he received in 1983), he would never have been able to accomplish what he did in Poland in 1989 – and he did more than anyone else (with the exception of Mikhail Gorbachev, another laureate) to liberate Central and Eastern Europe from Soviet Communism.

As a result of the prizes awarded to Carlos Belo and José Ramos-Horta (1996), the people of East Timor give the Nobel Committee a lot of credit for the fact that their country became independent. And when the Chinese government is so afraid of the impact of dissident Liu Xiaobo’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize (2010), it is indeed a testimony to the effects of the prize. Not bad for a committee of five largely unknown Norwegians.

© The Mark News

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
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'The world's most prestigious prize'

This is the most devalued of all the Nobel Prizes. All decent people were glad to see the foul lies and disgraceful bloodbaths of the Bush years over but the award to Obama for not being Bush was farcical. The majority of people on the planet should and do have higher morals than the neocons. The European Union? What? This award has taken on the trappings of show biz which is a pity because there are and have been worthy recipients.

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@Novenachama Many would argue that Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela had nothing to do with encouraging peace. They were simply high profile figures. This award could reinvent itself and be given to a worthy recipient who isn't a household name.

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Was the award to Barack Obama premature? Yes. Is Obama a welcome change from the previous chickenhawks? Yes. They Nobel commitee may just have been trying to acknowledge that.

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The article projects a true picture of Nobel Peace Prize and the way it has been awarded in recent years! There is indeed a shift from West-base to World-base but some degree of bias is evident though perhaps inevitable!

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Many people cannot understand and are still confused how a man who served as a junior senator in Illinois and one term in the United States Senate be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. How could the Nobel Committee have justified awarding him with the Nobel Peace Prize. Most people feel that there is nothing that puts him in the same class or category with Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and majority of the people on the list. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to recognize and honor the further progress of peace within the world and is earned.

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The Peace Prize has become a devalued joke over the years. The Award To Barack Obama before he had done anything of consequence merely made it obvious

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<>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSNEwSoV9zE

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**But the value of the prize and their politics proven the day they awarded a murdering terrorist, yasser Arafat, the peace prize. This guy orchestrated the hijackings of planes, cruise ships and murder of passengers and suicide bombings, this guy gets a peace prize for being the father of modern terrorism. Just think the young women who won the prize this year and for real and excellent reasons, have their name on a list of a murdering thug who would have shot these girls himself.

**** Todd Topolski, could not say it better.

Please watch the truth about Yasser Arafat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSNEwSoV9zE

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The Nobel group is most definitely political when they hand it to Obama before doing anything of value, made ridiculous when his actions did not result in the hope the wanted. It is Also ridiculous to use geography as a litmus test. Are they really denying the award if the candidate is not from Asia? But the value of the prize and their politics proven the day they awarded a murdering terrorist, yasser Arafat, the peace prize. This guy orchestrated the hijackings of planes, cruise ships and murder of passengers and suicide bombings, this guy gets a peace prize for being the father of modern terrorism. Just think the young women who won the prize this year and for real and excellent reasons, have their name on a list of a murdering thug who would have shot these girls himself. Sorry, the Nobel committee is as political and ridiculous as any other bureaucracy. If they were as this article described, Arafat would never have recieved it for not killing people that year.

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