I have become fascinated with the Nobel Peace Prize. Established in 1901, it has been awarded 94 times to 126 Nobel Laureates (101 individuals and 25 organizations). What does it take to be chosen? Your name must be submitted by a qualified person or organization, and you must 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.”
62 is the average age of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates the year they were awarded the prize.
The International Red Cross and the United Nations have received multiple prizes. No surprise there. Various government leaders and diplomats have also received them for brokering cease fires or peace treaties. Also no big surprise. But it’s the individuals with special vision and effort that impress me the most.
The Peace Prize was not awarded in 1914, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1923, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1948, 1955, 1956, 1966, 1967 and 1972.
1999: Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) which has grown since its inception in 1971 to be the world’s largest emergency aid organization. It was created by a small group of French doctors and journalists who believed that all people have the right to medical care regardless of race, religion, creed or political affiliation, and that the needs of these people outweigh respect for national borders. It seems like such a simple idea now, but it was radical thinking in its time. Thank goodness for those who will lend their talents and training for the good of strangers.
Mahatma Gandhi one of the strongest symbols of non-violence in the 20th century, nver received the Nobel Peace Prize. He was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, shortly before he was assassinated in January 1948. Although Gandhi was not awarded the Prize (a posthumous award is not allowed by the statutes), the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to make no award that year on the grounds that “there was no suitable living candidate”.
2004: Wangari Maathai: Creator of the Green Belt Movement in Africa. In 1977 she started a grass-roots movement aimed at countering the deforestation that was threatening the means of subsistence of the agricultural population. The campaign encouraged women to plant trees in their local environments and to think ecologically. The so-called Green Belt Movement spread to other African countries, and contributed to the planting of over thirty million trees.
15 women have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize so far.
2006: Muhammad Yunus: The Prize was awarded for his work in providing microcredit services to the poor. Microcredit involves giving very small loans to borrowers, many of whom are in third world countries. The borrowers usually lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history. It is designed not only to support entrepreneurship and alleviate poverty, but also in many cases to empower women and uplift entire communities by extension.
The statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years. The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as investigations and opinions related to the award of a prize.
1979: Mother Teresa: Perhaps the ultimate example of one person giving what she had to help others.
How do you win a Nobel Peace Prize? Just do what you can to make the world a better place. Then get other people to help you in your efforts. Keep reaching out.