World Watch

President Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Barack Obama is now just the third sitting American president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, presented December 10, in Oslo. The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2009 prize to Obama, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” They also 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.

Obama’s 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, the committee said. “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,” commented committee Chair Thorbjoern Jagland.

Obama said he viewed the decision as “a call to action.”

Former winners include Woodrow Wilson in 1919, Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and Jimmy Carter in 2002, 21 years after he left office. Former Vice President Al Gore was similarly honored in 2007.

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.” The committee has widely interpreted the guidelines to embrace efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change.

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