There are so many opinions about the recent announcement of President Barack Obama as the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. I decided to look into who received it in the past and why. Because the only people I can think of are Al Gore and Mother Teresa.
In case you didn't know the committee who votes is composed of 5 individuals who try to make a unanimous vote for the person/organization, although this is not always possible. There are also a few people who never were given the prestigious prize that might be just as controversial as some who have. Search here. One such as Mahatma Gandhi who was nominated 12 times between 1937 and 1948. There is a very long article as to possibly why he was never a Laureate. Six have declined the a Nobel Prize- some were forced to reject it and others choose to. Only one to reject the Peace Prize. Hitler was nominated for a Peace Prize but his nom was taken back on the deadline of the same year.
There is a press release on the site stating why he was the recipient. Here is a link to the entire release. This is the beginning of the release about the Obama and the reason the committee is awarding him"..for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons....For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman."
I tried to find exactly what reasons a person should be nominated for the prize and this is what I found in Nobel's will he stated the Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses". I also found the following quote on Wikipedia. "Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which recognize completed scientific or literary accomplishment, the Nobel Peace Prize may be awarded to persons or organizations that are in the process of resolving a conflict or creating peace." The council has released a statement about why they believe he should be the recipient so young in his presidency saying "the Committee wanted to demonstrate its support for the approaches he is taking towards global problems".
I visited the Nobelprize.org website and it's great. Listed is each recipient since 1901 (for all the prizes) and a search engine for the people who were nominated too! Can you guess who was nominated but didn't win? Go check it out here! The list is only released 50 years after the year in question. Alfred Nobel is the namesake of the prize and this is what the site has to say about him. "Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been honoring men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace. The foundations for the prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prize.... Meet Alfred Nobel - scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, author and pacifist. " Doesn't he sound great?
There is a process for awarding the Prize of course. Here is the long version on the website. To sum up - the person must be nominated by Feb from an eligible nominator. Thousands of eligible nominators are sent a letter in September and their letters of nominees must be post marked no later then Feb 1st. This date is only 11 days after Obama took office. I wonder how many people nominated him. This past year of 2009, 205 nominations were made for individuals/organizations for the Peace Prize. This is the most ever! The last record was in 1995 and was 199 people/organizations. As I stated earlier those names will not be released for another 50 years. Of course they receive many many letters, but many of those are duplicates, I also wonder who else was nominated this year. I will be in my 70's when the list is released.
OK now all those were just facts.. I wasn't putting anything I thought into it.. now in my personal opinion I think its a great thing that the world is looking at America in a positive way. We were not too long ago viewed very negatively in the eyes of the world. In Obama's very short time as the President of the United States he has brought the American people back into the light. I think he did that even before he took the oath. THAT is a big deal. Even if you don't think he should have been awarded its not a reason to direct negative energy towards him. He did not nominate himself, that's not how it works. I am sure he would much rather not be mentally defending himself because he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and he hasn't "done" anything. He should be able to be happy about this award. I think its very sad that the American people can't even let their President be happy for receiving such an honor. I do think its a good thing that he was so humble about being this years Laureate, but I cant really see him being any other way. Why all the fuss? Not everyone is Mother Teresa.
Take a look at the 90 recipients.. you might not even know who a most are. In 1973 during the Vietnam conflict Henry Kissinger, a German born who was serving as the US secretary of State and Le Duc Tho, the two chief negotiators who succeeded in arranging the ceasefire after negotiating for nearly four years. Le Duc Tho declined to accept the award, stating that there was still no peace in his country. Kissinger is criticized and even accused of war crimes for the policies he promoted during the Vietnam war and for his role in the establishment of dictatorial regimes in Latin America. The award to the Dalai Lama in 1989 was not considered as a friendly act by the Chinese government. There is an entire article dedicated to the controversy that the prize has caused.