Excerpts from the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize citation:
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."
Excerpts from the ajc.com article about Obama's latest win:
Nobel observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation but recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.
"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," said Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee.
Still, the U.S. remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress has yet to pass a law reducing carbon emissions and there has been little significant reduction in global nuclear stockpiles since Obama took office.
"So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act," said former Polish President Lech Walesa, a 1983 Nobel Peace laureate.
"This is probably an encouragement for him to act. Let's see if he perseveres. Let's give him time to act," Walesa said.
The award appeared to be a slap at President George W. Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama's predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The Nobel committee praised Obama's creation of "a new climate in international politics" and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said Obama's award shows great things are expected from him in coming years.
"It's an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all," Tutu said. "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope."
Until seconds before the award, speculation had focused on a wide variety of candidates besides Obama: Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Colombian senator, a Chinese dissident and an Afghan woman's rights activist, among others. The Nobel committee received a record 205 nominations for this year's prize, though it was not immediately apparent who nominated Obama.
"The exciting and important thing about this prize is that it's given to someone ... who has the power to contribute to peace," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.
Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award: President Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919.
The Nobel committee chairman said after awarding the 2002 prize to former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, for his mediation in international conflicts, that it should be seen as a "kick in the leg" to the Bush administration's hard line in the buildup to the Iraq war.
Five years later, the committee honored Bush's adversary in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, for his campaign to raise awareness about global warming.
Obama was to meet with his top advisers on the Afghan war on Friday to consider a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to send as many as 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as the U.S war there enters its ninth year.
Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, director general ofthe International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Obama has already provided outstanding leadership in the effort to prevent nuclear proliferation.
"In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself," ElBaradei said. "He has shown an unshakeable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts."
Obama also has attempted to restart stalled talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but just a day after Obama hosted the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in New York, Israeli officials boasted that they had fended off U.S. pressure to halt settlement construction. Moderate Palestinians said they felt undermined by Obama's failure to back up his demand for a freeze.
Nominators for the prize include former laureates; current and former members of the committee and their staff; members of national governments and legislatures; university professors of law, theology, social sciences, history and philosophy; leaders of peace research and foreign affairs institutes; and members of international courts of law.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation welcomed the award on behalf of its founder Nelson Mandela, who shared the 1993 Peace Prize with then-South African President F.W. DeKlerk for their efforts at ending years of apartheid and laying the groundwork for a democratic country.
"We trust that this award will strengthen his commitment, as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, to continue promoting peace and the eradication of poverty," the foundation said.
In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses."
Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded by Swedish institutions, he said the peace prize should be given out by a five-member committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament. Sweden and Norway were united under the same crown at the time of Nobel's death.
The committee has taken a wide interpretation of Nobel's guidelines, expanding the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change.
plez sez: OK... let's get this out of the way: plezWorld is still giddy over the Obama presidency! i cannot believe this country (as a whole) was able to throw out over 400 years of racial intolerance and bigotry to elect a Black man to the white house. over an eleven month span, this country went into overdrive to prove that it really was seeing the dawn of a post-racial society.
so i am just as giddy that Obama was tapped for the 2009 nobel peace prize, but... as i began to read the articles touting the selection and as i watched a few morning news shows shine the bright glare of our 24-hour news cycle on this selection, some doubts began to nag at plezWorld: (1) he was nominated a few weeks after he took office (the deadline for the nomination is february 1st and he was inaugurated on january 20th), (2) our troops are still in iraq, (3) the troops who are leaving iraq are being re-deployed to afghanistan, and (4) other than making other likeminded folk giddy and feel all warm and fuzzy, what has President Obama done over the past 8 months to win such an award?!?
i read that there were 205 nominations this year, the most ever. and President Obama was the unanimous selection of the five voters, they said it wasn't even close. so of the 200+ nominees, not ONE of them had devoted more than the last 8 months of their lives to promote world peace? jimmy carter brokered the israel-egyptian peace accords while he was in office, and he had to wait TWENTY YEARS before he was recognized. two other sitting US presidents have won the award (teddy roosevelt and woodrow wilson), but neither was deemed worthy of the award during their first year in office.
i love Barack Obama and he is a worthy recipient of the award. but this move seems mighty political (a slap at the bush administration) and sets the bar of expectation for Obama administration at stratospheric heights. i'm sure he'll eventually "earn" this award, but i have no doubt the republicans will savor his every setback along the way.
Read the ajc.com article containing the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize citition excerpts.
Read the ajc.com article about President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
Read the Washington Post article about the wide chasm of reaction to the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
Read the New York Times article titled "For Presidency in Search of Success, Nobel Adds a Twist".
Read the New York Times article titled "From 205 Names, Panel Chose the Most Visible ."
Read the CNN.com article about Americans being split on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Read the CNN.com article about Obama calls the Nobel Prize a "call to action".