Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama? Nobel Prize? huh? eh?

The Nobel peace prize is one of five awarded annually since 1901 by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. The other four prizes are for physiology or medicine, physics, chemistry and literature. Starting in 1969, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel also has been awarded.

While the other prizes are awarded by committees based in Sweden, the peace prize is determined by a five-member panel appointed by the Norwegian parliament.

The Nobel recipient receives a prize of 10 million Swedish crowns, or about $1.4 million.

Read this last night on CNN on the Nobel contenders awaiting the peace prize decision

And the news broke out today morning the most revered honor goes to the world leader!

The Wikipedia entry says: The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to U.S. President Barack Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples

Read this analysis on why Obama's Nobel honors promise, not action
The prize seems to be more for Obama's promise than for his performance. The Nobel committee cited as his key accomplishment "a new climate in international politics." The president has become "the world's leading spokesman" for its agenda, the committee said.

NY Times reported "In Surprise, Nobel Peace Prize to Obama for Diplomacy"

Here is the actual transcript from The Norwegian Nobel Committee:

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama 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.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

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. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

Should he accept the award? What has he accomplished? Is this a mockery of the process?

While awarding Obama the Nobel Prize might seem premature, the committee was responding to a genuine change that Obama has brought about. The prize seems to be more for Obama's promise than for his performance.

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