10/12/09

Questions About Peace Prize?

The e-mail message from my son was short: “Any thoughts about this year's Peace Prize?”

Absolutely!!! I definitely had thoughts.

More than thoughts, though, were the questions.

What I question is the nominating process, criteria used and time frame.


According to news reports, Barack Obama was nominated no later than a few days into his presidency. What was the basis for the nomination at that point? Does the selection committee consider only those things done up until the point of nomination, or is it allowable to nominate someone who shows promise or someone who is expected to accomplish certain things?

The prize for literature isn't given to someone because of what he or she may write in the future or for qualities and skills that show promise of authorship. Likewise with the other categories in which Nobel prizes are given. The previous awards have been for something specific that has been discovered, studied, written, accomplished, done.


Was the prize awarded to Obama simply because of his election? Did the committee believe that his election sent a peaceful message to the world? If the award was on that basis, then the committee should have said so.

Instead, the committee said it was “motivated by Obama's initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.”  Had those initiatives been undertaken at the time the nomination was made?

The five Nobel prizes were created by Alfred Nobel in his 1895 will, which designated the peace prize for "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."  [emphasis added](http://www.nobelprize.org/) The Nobel prize web site further says that the annual prizes are given "to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind."

Poland’s Lech Walesa won the peace prize in 1983. When asked by a news organization about Obama’s recognition, he replied, “So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far….”

The 1984 recipient, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called this “an award that speaks to the promise of (Barack Obama)…”


One thing is clear. This was indeed a selection made by choice rather than by default. There were 199 nominees this year, the most nominations ever. Among the reported nominees were Colin Powell and singers Pete Seeger and U2’s Bono. Further, there have been 19 years in which no prize was given, including during the two world wars.

Yes, I have questions but I also have hope. I hope Obama will live up to the award and help attain peace and stability.

6 comments:

Sandee said...

I think it lessens the prize altogether. He's done nothing so far. I just laughed out loud when I heard it. I think you are right though. Hope is all this prize hangs on. I'm not seeing anything positive in the Middle East either.

Have a terrific day. :)

Syd said...

I think that it is a great honor. And I believe that he is already living up to the award and will continue to do so. It is something for all of us in the US to be proud of. A few years ago we, as a nation, were hated and were fostering a bully pulpit type of mentality. Today, the US isn't viewed in such a disparaging way because of the hope that the President brings and his diplomacy. I am glad for the change.

kaye said...

I agree, I hadn't even heard of him until he ran for President. It seems that the Prize that prestigous should be given after great achievement.

StaceyC4 said...

I was a little disgusted by him getting the award. I mean, how many everyday people have voiced that our government should be doing those same things! They're no closer to having them done than the President is and he gets an award??? It just doesn't seem right.

Martha said...

It is ridiculous to base the Nobel Peace prize on the "hope of doing some to contribute to peace in the world." Who would award the Heisman trophy before football season? or the Oscars before release of the movies. To me it is a dishonor to those that have been awarded the prize in previous and future years because it trivializes the award. Eleven days into his presidency he had done absolutely nothing except participate in pomp and circumstance and done nothing but talk about peace. I guess his charisma won both the Nobel prize and the election for Obama.

Hillbilly Willy said...

If the Nobel Peace price is based on hope of bringing great peace, then Willy deserves the prize. Everyone is hoping that Willy is very nice over the next year and quits being ugly to all his redneck neighbors.

Peace will come so Willy wants his prize now.

Maybe it is being sent with Willy's Government Bailout envelope.

10-4 Willy

 
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