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