Quick trivia question: Who won Nobel Peace Prize in 2009? The answer; newly-elected President Barack Obama. And the obvious follow-up question is, why? To his credit, he wasn’t sure why either. The thought was that this would encourage him to be a peace-maker. A new book is at least shedding some light on the regrets that the Nobel committee had in making that decision.
In a new memoir titled "Secretary of Peace: 25 years with the Nobel Prize," Geir Lundestad, the non-voting Director of the Nobel Institute until 2014, writes that he has developed doubts about the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to grant Obama the Nobel Peace Prize over the past six years. While the prize was designed to encourage the new president, it may have not have worked out as intended.
When I posted this on the “Consider This!” Facebook page (my podcast), listener Pil Orbison said that, while President Obama wasn’t a Helen Keller or Indira Ghandi, no two Nobel prizes are alike. She said that what Obama did for the economy and healthcare certainly gave others a better outlook on our nation, and no other President could have done that.
Let’s set aside whether or not what Obama has done has improved either the economy or health care. The Nobel Peace prize is for what you actually have accomplished, not for what the committee hopes you will accomplish. That standard isn’t applied to any other Nobel Prize. They don’t give out the Chemistry award for what someone might discover, or to someone who shows promise in that field. The Peace Prize has, or should have, the same criteria.
Sure, the Nobel committee can have whatever criteria they want, but this article shows what can happen when you pin your hopes on a guy just because of his politics or the promises he made on the campaign trail. Politicizing the prize cheapens it for those who truly deserve it; people like Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malala Yousafzai, or PLO terrorist Yassar Arafat. Oh yes, he got one too.
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