What do a seventeen year old Pakistani, a Tibetan Monk, an Indian Nun, and an American pastor have in common? Well, they were all awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Among the top prestigious awards in the world, this prize has honored some of the most celebrated and revered international figures and organizations in history. However, do we really know how and why the prize began in the first place or what is its significance? Let us dive into knowing the not so precedented, Nobel Prize for Peace.
And The Journey Begins…
We have to pay a visit to the 1800s, so as to fathom how it all started. Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, invented dynamite. This invention proved to be the breakthrough that gave a blow to his career. Within a span of thirty years, he became extremely wealthy. However, he never married and had no children. The opening of his will, after his death, was nothing less of a surprise. The will stated that his fortune was to be used for five prizes in different domains. They included Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature , and lastly, Peace. These prizes illustrated his lifelong commitment to sciences and his passion for literature. But, what about Peace?
Nobel’s name was tied to inventions in the war industry. Henceforth, it is conjectured that the peace prize was created out of regret. However, it is all speculations as he never really conveyed any such sentiments. Instead, many historians connect interest of Alfred Nobel with peace owing to his decade-long friendship and correspondence with an Austrian pacifist named Bertha Von Suttner. Von Suttner was one of the leaders of the International Peace Movement. It was in 1905, after the death of Alfred Nobel, that she became the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
The will of Alfred Nobel outlined three criterion for his Prize for Peace. Unlikely other Sweden based prizes, the Peace Prize was administered in Norway. The standards were inclusive of Disarmament, peace congresses, and brotherhood between nations. These standards have since been expanded so to include other ways of promoting peace. Human Rights and negotiations are primary expansions. Moreover, the prize does not have to go to just one person. Evidently, about a third of Nobel Prizes for Peace have been shared by two or three laureates. Now, after you are well versed with the commencement of the genteel Nobel Prize for Peace, why not fathom how nominations for the prize work?
Stratagem of the Awardees
In accordance with the Nobel Foundation, a valid nomination can come from a member of a national assembly, state government, or an International Court. Eligible nominators also include University Rectors, Professors of the Social Sciences, History, Philosophy, Law, and Theology, and also from previous recipients of the Peace Prize. If you want to know as to who was recently nominated, you will have board the patience route. Explicitly, all information about nominations remains a secret for a total span of almost fifty years.
Take Martin Luther King Junior, for instance. We did not actually know who nominated him until 2014. However, his nominators turned out to be the Quakers, who had won the Peace Prize previously, and also eight members of the Swedish Parliament. There is no limit to the number of times a person or organization can be nominated. In fact, Jane Addams, recognized as the founder of social work in the United States, was nominated for a total of ninety-one times before being awarded the prize.
Omissions are Exceptions too
Notably, the absence of a laureate can also be symbolic. The year 1948 witnessed the decision to not award the prize. This was to honor the death of esteemed Mahatma Gandhi. The decision was interpreted as an attempt to respectfully honor the so-called missing laureate. As with the other Nobel Prizes, the Prize for Peace can not be awarded posthumously. The secret process of selection takes almost an year. The five appointed members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee carry out the proceedings. These members are forbidden from any official political function in Norway. The process commences with a large pool of nominations that exceeded three-hundred as of recent years. The work of each candidate is accessed and examined. Finally, the Chairman of the Nobel Committee publicly announces the laureate in October.
The Bonanza of Peace
The award ceremony takes place on December 10th. The date also the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel. The prize itself includes a gold medal inscribed with the Latin words, “Pro Pace et Fraternitate gentium,” translated to, “For the Peace and Brotherhood of men.” A diploma, and a large cash prize is also complementary. Recently, it is been right million Swedish Kronor, which is rough a million US Dollars. The multiple winners however split the cash prize. While the laureates can use the prize money as they choose, in recent years however, many have donated it to humanitarian or social causes.
Hall Of (Peace) Fame
For many years, the Nobel Prize for Peace awarded to European and North American men, predominately . Although in the recent years, significant changes have been taking place. Consequently, making the prize more global than ever. Twenty-three organizations, and a hundred and three individuals, inclusive of eighty-seven men and sixteen women, have made up the hundred and twenty-six Nobel Peace Price laureates in history.
They include Desmond Tutu for his non-violent campaign against apartheid in South Africa, Jody Williams for her campaign to ban and clear anti-personnel mines, Rigoberta Menchu Tum for her work for social justice and reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous people, Martti Ahtisaari for his efforts to resolve international conflicts in Namibia, Kosovo, and Indonesia, and Aung San Suu Kyi for her nonviolent struggle for democracy and human rights in Myanmar. These are the few examples of the people who inspired us and challenged us with their actions. They successfully demonstrated that that there are a umpteen paths to Peace.
It is one of the highest awards achievable on Earth. So the people at the receiving end of it really are indubitably the best of the best. The lock, stock, and barrel is to know that the beauty of peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold. The idea behind is to fathom that it is not the awards and prizes that add value to one’s work, it’s the work that adds value to the awards and prizes. Peace is the music of every soul. Our glory lies in understanding, listening and honoring that music. Ending in words of yet another Noble laureate, Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change which you want to happen to the world.”