Controversies and facts about Nobel Peace Prize winners

The 2016 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded October 7, 2016, to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who became president in 2010 and signed a historic peace deal with FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono in September.
The deal was hailed as an end to 52 years of war, which has cost the lives of at least 220,000 Colombians and displaced close to 6 million people. It also provided a pathway for FARC to disarm and become a political party. Although the peace deal was rejected at a referendum by a tiny margin of 50.23% to 49.76%, both sides have said they will try to salvage the accord.
The prize worth 8 million Swedish crowns ($930,000) was announced at the Norwegian Nobel Institute and will be presented in Oslo on December 10.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee each year awards the Nobel Peace Prize “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the 1895 will of Alfred Nobel (who died in 1896), awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine.
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 97 times to 130 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2016, 104 individuals and 26 organizations. Since the International Committee of the Red Cross has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize three times (in 1917, 1944 and 1963), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize two times (in 1954 and 1981), there are 23 individual organizations which have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
For the past 10 years the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to:
2015. National Dialogue Quartet “for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011”
2014. Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”
2013. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”
2012. European Union (EU) “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”
2011. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”
2010. Liu Xiaobo “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China”
2009. Barack H. Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”
In a move called “a stunning surprise” by the New York Times, Barack Obama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize only 12 days after he took office in 2009. When he actually won the prize only months into his first term in office, many accused the Nobel Peace Prize Committee of being politically motivated since the president was chosen to receive the award for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” rather than any concrete achievements.
2008. Martti Ahtisaari “for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts”
2007. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”
Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize win was, according to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, awarded because “he is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted” regarding climate change and global warming. The problem was many felt Gore was undeserving of the award since he hardly practiced what he preached, The CheatSheet says. In 2006, shocking electric and gas bills from the Gore household showed that his 20-room home and “pool house” were eating up over 20 times the national average electricity usage.
2006. Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below”
2005. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Mohamed ElBaradei “for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way”
The first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 1901 to Frédéric Passy (a French economist) and Henry Dunant (the founder of the Red Cross).
Among the most controversial Nobel Peace Prize winners are U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger(1973) and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (1994).
The U.S. Secretary of State during both the Nixon and Ford administrations was a joint winner in 1973 with North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho. Le Duc Tho rejected the award, given for the pair’s peace work in South Vietnam, because he felt that peace had not yet been achieved in the area — and doubly, didn’t want to share the award with Kissinger, who accepted the award “with humility,” but many felt that it should never have been offered to him in the first place. There were two reasons for this controversy. Kissinger was accused of war crimes for his alleged role in America’s secret bombing of Cambodia between 1969 and 1975. His win was also called premature since North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam two years after the prize was awarded, voiding his work. Two Norwegian Nobel Committee members resigned to protest Kissinger’s win.
“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” wrote TIME of the heated debate surrounding Yasser Arafat’s controversial Nobel Peace Prize win. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, sharing the award with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres for the trio’s work on the Oslo Peace Accords, a document meant to create “opportunities for a new development toward fraternity in the Middle East.” Criticism has been heaped on the committee for this award not only because of the failure of the Oslo accords but because of Arafat himself. Although Arafat publicly spoke out against terrorism, he’s been called “The worst man to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize” by his critics.
Some interesting facts
Among the Nobel Laureates, the two most common dates for birthdays are May 21 and February 28. The average age of all Nobel Peace Prize Laureates between 1901 and 2015 is 61 years. To date, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate is Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 years old when awarded the 2014 Peace Prize. The oldest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to date is Joseph Rotblat, who was 87 years old when he was awarded the Prize in 1995.

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