Nobel Peace Prize

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The medal for the Nobel Prize awarded to Henry Dunant (center)
Willy Brandt's Nobel Peace Prize Certificate

The Nobel Peace Prize is the most important international peace prize and a category of the Nobel Prize donated by the Swedish inventor and industrialist Alfred Nobel . According to the founder's stipulations, it should be awarded to those “who worked the most or best of all on the fraternization of peoples and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the holding or promotion of peace congresses” and thus “the greatest in the past year of mankind Has brought benefits ".

The award has been presented every year since 1901 on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death, December 10th , in Oslo . It has been endowed with 10 million Swedish kronor (approx. 969,000 euros) since 2020 . In contrast to the other categories of the Nobel Prize, no Swedish institution is responsible for awarding it, but a five-member committee determined by the Norwegian Parliament , which is why the prize is the only one of the Nobel Prizes not to be awarded in Stockholm .

A list of all award winners can be found under List of Nobel Peace Prize Winners .


Like the other categories of the Nobel Prize, the Nobel Peace Prize goes back to Alfred Nobel's will , in which he decreed the foundation of the prize, which is endowed with the proceeds of his fortune.

The original Swedish text of the decisive excerpt from the will reads:

”Öfver hela min återstående realiserbara förmögenhet förfares on följande sätt: Capital of utredningsmännen realiseradt till säkra värdepapper skall utgöra en fond, hvars ränta årligen utdelas deta prisbelöning åt the next day of the disturbance. Räntan delas i fem lika delar som tillfalla: […] also en del åt den som har kat mest eller best for folkens förbrödrande och avskaffande eller minskning av stående arméer together with bildande och spridande av fredskongresser. Awards […] for fredsförfäktare [utdelas] af ett utskott af fem personer som väljas af Norska Stortinget. Det är min uttryckliga vilja att vid prisutdelningarna intet afseende fästes vid någon slags nationstillhörighet sålunda att the värdigaste recipient priset antingen han är scandinav eller ej. "

“My remaining realizable assets will be dealt with in the following way: the capital that has been converted into safe securities by the estate administrators is to form a fund, the interest of which is to be distributed annually as a prize to those who were greatest in the past year of mankind Have provided benefits. The interest is divided into five equal parts: [...] and a part to those who worked most or best of all to fraternize peoples and to abolish or reduce standing armies and to hold or promote peace congresses. The Peace Advocate Award […] is [awarded] by a committee of five people elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express will that the award is not tied to any nationality, so that the most worthy receives the award, whether he is Scandinavian or not. "

- Alfred Nobel : Testament of November 27, 1895

This determination made the Nobel Peace Prize the world's first award for work in the peace movement .

Nobel Institute in Oslo : Room in which the new winners are announced in October and a press conference takes place on the day before the award ceremony

Unlike all other Nobel Prizes that are awarded in Stockholm, the award ceremony takes place in Oslo City Hall , the Norwegian capital. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is selected by a five-person committee, the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The members of the committee are appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting .

The reason for the award by a Norwegian body is probably that Sweden and Norway were united during Nobel's lifetime and foreign policy issues were only decided by the Swedish parliament. Nobel himself never explained why he did not want the prize to be awarded in Sweden like everyone else. It is believed, however, that he believed that the Norwegian parliament, which was only responsible for domestic affairs, would be less exposed to manipulation by the government. Alfred Nobel also held the Norwegian author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in high esteem , which may have influenced his decision.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee

Nobel Institute in Oslo : meeting room in which the committee selects the respective award winners

The Norwegian Nobel Committee is the body that awards the Nobel Peace Prize. It consists of five people who are selected and appointed by the Norwegian Parliament. This selection is valid for a period of six years, whereby the members can also be re-elected. The political composition of parliament is naturally also reflected in the composition of the committee. The committee itself elects the chairman and his deputy from among its ranks. The director of the Nobel Institute is the secretary of the committee. Although this is not a requirement, so far all of the representatives of this committee have been Norwegians.

The decision of the committee is completely independent of external influences. The meetings do not have to be minuted and decisions do not have to be justified, even if there are conflicting opinions. Accordingly, the committee never takes a position on the decision in the subsequent discussions after the award.

Until 1936, members of parliament could also be elected as representatives of the committee. This changed after the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the German dissident Carl von Ossietzky . This award was sharply condemned by Germany and especially by Adolf Hitler and viewed as an act of aggressive foreign policy by Norway towards the German Reich . Since then there have been no members of this committee. In 1977 the rule was tightened again to the extent that no members from government-related committees are admitted, at the same time as the name was changed from "Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament" to "Norwegian Nobel Committee".

The following persons accordingly form the current committee (since 2018):

  • Berit Reiss-Andersen (* 1954), Chair of the Committee (since 2017), lawyer, former State Secretary in the Ministry of Justice (term of office until 2023)
  • Henrik Syse (* 1966), Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute in Oslo (term of office until 2020)
  • Thorbjørn Jagland (* 1950), former Norwegian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Secretary General of the Council of Europe (term of office until 2020)
  • Anne Enger (* 1949), former minister (term of office until 2020)
  • Asle Toje (* 1975), political scientist specializing in foreign policy, former research director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute (term until 2023)

The historian Professor Olav Njølstad (* 1957) is the director of the Nobel Institute and thus secretary of the committees .

Nomination and award

Handover of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963

Proposals for the Nobel Peace Prize can be made by current or former members of the committee, advisors to the committee and previous winners or the executive boards of distinguished organizations, all members of the government or parliament as well as the head of state of a sovereign state, the judges of the International Court of Justice and the permanent Arbitration courts in The Hague and professors in the fields of social science, history, philosophy, law and theology submitted by heads of universities and peace research institutes and similar organizations.

The Nobel Peace Prize can also be awarded to people or organizations that are involved in an ongoing peace process, not just for the final solution to a conflict. As a result, some Nobel Peace Prizes can, in retrospect, be viewed as questionable. This is especially true of the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize, when Henry Kissinger ( USA ) and Lê Đức Thọ ( Vietnam ) (waived the prize) were awarded for the 1973 peace agreement in Vietnam. The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama was also criticized because he had only recently been elected to office and had therefore not yet taken any noteworthy political steps. Even years later, this criticism is renewed, because contrary to hopes the conflicts and wars of the world have not diminished.

Nominations must be made by February 1st of the year in question. The date of the postmark applies. Subsequent nominations will not be accepted for the current year and will be included in the decision for the next year.

year Nominations
1971 039
2009 205
2010 237
2011 241
2012 231 (including 43 organizations)
2013 259
2014 278 (including 47 organizations)
2015 273 (including 68 organizations)
2016 376 (including 148 organizations)
2017 318 (including 103 organizations)

The statutes of the Nobel Foundation prohibit the nominees and nominees from being published for at least 50 years, although access can also be restricted to scientific purposes afterwards. Some of the nominations for which the deadline has expired are kept in a database on the Foundation's website. For the Nobel Peace Prize, data is available for the years 1901 to 1967: thereafter, a total of 4,425 nominations were made during this period - including multiple nominations for the same person. The number of nominations has increased in recent years.

On behalf of the secretary of the committee, both permanent and special observers are assigned to report on the candidates. These reports are intended to facilitate and support the committee members' decision-making, but must not contain any evaluations or recommendations by the nominees.

According to the Nobel Statutes, only a maximum of three winners can be selected. The prize may only be awarded for a maximum of two separate services. However, this is only very rarely the case with the Nobel Peace Prize. If several award winners are awarded, it is usually for achievements in the same area. Since the Nobel Committee did not determine the rationale for the award until 1989, it is difficult to determine why the award was shared in any given year.

There is no fixed date for the nomination of the winners, but mostly it is a Friday around the middle of October. The announcement takes place officially in the building of the Nobel Institute. The award does not take place until December 10th of that year, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death. Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, the prize and associated medal and certificate are awarded by the committee chairman and not by the king, who, however, as well as various members of the Norwegian government, is invited and present at the ceremony. After the award of the award there is usually a Nobel Lecture , a lecture or an address to the award winners. This is published in the annual book series Les Prix Nobel , as well as on the websites of the Nobel e-museum and the Norwegian Nobel Institute. There will also be a small-group banquet on the same evening.

Since 1994, the Nobel Peace Prize Concert has been held in honor of the respective prize winner on December 11th, the day after the award . Musicians from all over the world perform.


Vestbanestasjonen (former West Railway Station), seat of the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo

The Nobel Peace Prize was first awarded to two people in 1901. These were Henry Dunant (founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross ) and Frédéric Passy (founder of the French peace society Société d'arbitrage entre les Nations ). In 1905 the Austrian Bertha von Suttner received it as the first woman (novel Die Waffen Nieder!, Founder of the German Peace Society ). Since then, until 2009, the award has been made to 97 people and 20 organizations.

Of all the Nobel Prizes, this discipline was the most frequently not awarded, namely 19 times. This was last done in 1972. The proportion of women with 12 women up to 2009 is higher than in all other disciplines. Although the Nobel Prize in Literature has also been awarded 12 times to a woman, more male winners have been honored there.

According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, it is the responsibility of the awarding institutions to determine whether institutions in the respective award category may also be awarded. The Nobel Peace Prize is the only one to make use of this. This was done for the first time in 1904 to the Institut de Droit international , so far organizations have received 22 awards (as of 2019).

The interpretation of Nobel’s guidelines is broader today than it used to be. In 1960, for example, the prize was also awarded for the first time for commitment to human rights . In 2004, work for the environment and sustainable development was recognized for the first time, and in 2007 for climate protection ( IPCC ).

An important development concerns the preparation of the dossiers for the committee members. In the early days these were written and passed on by the secretary of the committee, Christian Lous Lange , alone . With the establishment of the Norwegian Nobel Institute in 1904, the secretary received support from permanent advisors. Up until the 1980s, these were three people who were experts in international law, history and world economics. There are now four permanent consultants, and additional consultants can be called in for special candidates.


The award of the Nobel Peace Prize is particularly strongly influenced by current events and its contradictions and is accordingly controversial. The selected people and organizations often have a very polarizing effect, and almost every award leads to hostility over the decision. However, the award cannot be withdrawn and the committee's decision cannot be formally challenged.

Many people who would have deserved it in the public eye were also not honored with the Nobel Peace Prize. A particularly prominent example is Mahatma Gandhi , who advocated India's peaceful struggle for independence. He was first nominated and shortlisted in 1937, but the committee decided against him. He was nominated a few more times, but wasn't considered again until 1947. The decision was made in favor of Quaker Peace and Social Witness . In 1948 he was nominated again, but murdered shortly before the nomination deadline at the end of January. The committee considered and reviewed posthumous award. A request to the Swedish awarding bodies revealed that, in their opinion, the award should only be awarded posthumously if the winner died after the committee's decision. Furthermore, there were doubts as to whether such an award would be in the spirit of Alfred Nobel, and also practical difficulties, since Gandhi had left no successor organization to which the award could have been awarded. Only one of the committee members was in favor of an award. So it was decided not to award the prize on the grounds that there was no suitable candidate. Since 1972, the statutes of the Nobel Foundation have also been designed in such a way that the prize may only be awarded posthumously if the winner dies after it has been announced.

The awarding of the prize in 1973 to Henry Kissinger and Lê Đức Thọ , who were awarded the Nobel Prize for ending a war with millions of victims, which they initially escalated on their own responsibility, is repeatedly criticized. Only Henry Kissinger accepted the price, Lê Đức Thọ refused to accept it because, from his point of view, there was still no peace in Vietnam at that time.

On December 4, 2001, former Nobel Prize Committee member and Norwegian Minister Kåre Kristiansen declared that Yasser Arafat should never have received the Nobel Peace Prize. Developments after 1994 left no doubt that Arafat did not deserve the award. He had neither contributed to the peace nor done anything else that would justify the price.

There was also considerable retrospective criticism of the awarding of the prize to Barack Obama in 2009, as Obama was unable to resolve major conflicts or prevent new ones. Furthermore, the drone war established under Obama's tenure is cited, in which suspected terrorists on death lists are killed abroad without trial.

The awarding of the prize to institutions was also heavily criticized in some cases. For example, on the occasion of the awarding of the prize to the European Union on December 10, 2012, former winners declared that the EU was “clearly not a champion for peace” and that the decision distorted the will of Alfred Nobel.

The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Abiy Ahmed was largely responsible for the outbreak of civil war between the central government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Province, which is striving for more autonomy, in 2020. The civil war continued in 2021 and there were massacres of the civilian population of Tigray by troops of the Central government or members of the Eritrean army fighting on their side . According to the editor-in-chief of the Addis Standard (en) , Tsedale Lemma (en) , the award of the Nobel Peace Prize was one reason why Abiy deviated from the reform course.

Award winners

2001 Nobel Peace Prize for the United Nations - Certificate in the lobby of the UN headquarters in New York City

The last German prize winner so far was Willy Brandt  (1971), before that it was Albert Schweitzer  (1953 for 1952, French citizen), Carl von Ossietzky  (1936 for 1935), Ludwig Quidde  (1927) and Gustav Stresemann (1926).

Bertha von Suttner was the first Austrian woman to receive the award in 1905 and also the first woman to receive the award. The second and so far last award winner from Austria was Alfred Hermann Fried , who was awarded in 1911.

In addition to Henry Dunant (first prize in 1901), the Swiss Élie Ducommun and Charles Albert Gobat (both in 1902) received the prize.

In 2014, the Nobel Prize was awarded to the then 17-year-old Pakistani child rights activist Malala Yousafzai , making her by far the youngest person to have received a Nobel Prize to date.

Among the international organizations, the United Nations has received  frequent honors: itself (2001, with Secretary General Kofi Annan ), the Children's Fund  (UNICEF, 1965), the High Commissioner for Refugees  (UNHCR, 1954 and 1981) and the peacekeeping forces (1988). The International Committee of the Red Cross is represented three times (1917, 1944, 1963 also League of Red Cross Societies ; indirectly Dunant as founder in 1901). Also represented are the International Atomic Energy Agency  (IAEA, 2005), the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons  (ICAN, 2017), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons  (OPCW, 2013) and several other disarmament initiatives, Amnesty International  (1977), Doctors Without Borders  (1999). the International Labor Organization  (ILO, 1969), and the climate research institution Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  (IPCC, 2007). In 2012 the European Union  (EU) received the award.

So far, eight Nobel Peace Prizes (UNHCR, Red Cross, ILO, Office international Nansen pour les réfugiés 1938) ICAN, in Austria one (IAEA) have gone to organizations based in Switzerland .

See also


  • Geir Lundestad: The World's Most Prestigious Prize: The Inside Story of the Nobel Peace Prize. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2019, ISBN 978-0-19-884187-6 .
  • Emil Bobi: The Nobel Peace Prize. A demolition. Ecowin Verlag at Benevento Publishing 2015, ISBN 978-3-7110-0081-1 .
  • Heinrich Zankl : Nobel Prizes: explosive affairs, controversial decisions. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2005, ISBN 3-527-31182-3 .
  • Matthias Hannemann: The good propagandists. Iran, the eyes of the world and the Nobel Peace Prize. In: Liberal - Vierteljahreshefte für Politik und Kultur , No. 46 (March 2004), pp. 66–69. - Essay on the function and media staging of the award using the example of the award to Shirin Ebadi.
  • Brockhaus Nobel Prizes - Chronicle of Outstanding Achievements. Brockhaus, Mannheim 2004, ISBN 3-7653-0492-1 .
  • Peter Badge: a portrait of the Nobel Laureate. Ars Vivendi 2004, ISBN 3-89716-519-8 .
  • John Bankston: Alfred Nobel: And the Story of the Nobel Prize (Great Achievement Awards). Mitchell Lane Publishers 2003, ISBN 1-58415-168-4 .
  • Angelika U. Reutter & Anne Rüffer: Women with ideals. Ten lives for peace. rüffer & rub, Zurich 2001, ISBN 3-907625-02-1 .
  • Sharon Bertsch McGrayne: Nobel Prize Women in Science. Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries. National Academies Press 2001, ISBN 0-309-07270-0 .
  • Agneta Wallin Levinovitz, Nils Ringertz (Ed.): The Nobel Prize. The First 100 Years. World Scientific Publishing Company 2001, ISBN 981-02-4664-1 .
  • Bernhard Kupfer: Lexicon of Nobel Prize Winners. Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 2001, ISBN 3-491-72451-1 .
  • Charlotte Kerner : Madame Curie and her sisters. Beltz 2001, ISBN 3-407-78868-1 .
  • Charlotte Kerner: Not only Madame Curie… Beltz 2001, ISBN 3-407-78839-8 .

Web links

Commons : Nobel Peace Prize  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Nobel Peace Prize  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Guido Valentin: Det hände 1897. A.–B. Bokverk, Stockholm 1943. Own translation by Wikipedia.
  2. a b Nobel Institute (English)
  3. ^ Nobel Committee. The Norwegian Nobel Institute, accessed October 4, 2018 .
  4. Dagmar Rosenfeld: Merkel successor: In the Merz hype, the bitterness of disillusionment is already in place. In: Welt Online . November 1, 2018, accessed November 1, 2018 .
  5. Current members can submit nominations until the first meeting of the committee after February 1st.
  6. Who may submit nominations? (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on June 30, 2013 ; Retrieved October 7, 2009 .
  7. "20. October 1971: Grand Prize for Small Steps " , Radio Bremen, contribution in the series" As time goes by "for the Nobel Prize to Willy Brandt
  8. Wikileaks and 240 others are nominated. In: March 1, 2011, accessed August 14, 2011 .
  9. ^ Nominations for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. (No longer available online.) In: 2012, archived from the original on February 27, 2012 ; accessed on October 10, 2014 .
  10. a b Nominations for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize (English). (No longer available online.) In: October 10, 2014, archived from the original on October 6, 2014 ; Retrieved October 10, 2014 .
  11. Nominations for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize (English). (No longer available online.) In: March 3, 2015, archived from the original on October 9, 2015 ; Retrieved October 9, 2015 .
  12. Nominations for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize (English). (No longer available online.) In: March 1, 2016, archived from the original on October 7, 2016 ; Retrieved October 7, 2016 .
  13. Nominations 2017 (English). In: October 5, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2017 .
  14. Nomination Archive. Explore the nomination databases in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. In: Nobel Media AB 2014, January 2, 2018, accessed January 3, 2018 .
  15. § 4 of the statutes of the Nobel Foundation.
  16. Mahatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate ,
  17. Ex-member of the Nobel Prize Committee: Arafat should not have received the Peace Prize In: , December 4, 2001, accessed on August 1, 2018.
  18. Sven Felix Kellerhoff: Nobel Peace Prize 2017: Those were the five worst winners . October 5, 2017 ( [accessed September 18, 2019]).
  19. ^ Matthias Rüb: Obama's drone war: License to kill . ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed September 18, 2019]).
  20. Former award winners criticize the EU award . Zeit Online , November 2012
  21. Antje Diekhans: Nobel Prize Winner Abiy Ahmed: Departed from the Peace Course. In: November 9, 2020, accessed November 20, 2020 .
  22. ^ Massacre in the mountains. In: February 26, 2021, accessed January 27, 2021 .
  23. ^ 'Two bullets is enough': Analysis of Tigray massacre video raises questions for Ethiopian Army. In: April 2, 2021, accessed April 2, 2021 .
  24. From Nobel laureate to global pariah: How the world got Abiy Ahmed and Ethiopia so wrong. In: September 7, 2021, accessed on September 7, 2021 : "" Soon after Abiy was crowned with that Nobel Peace Prize, he lost an appetite in pursuing domestic reform, "Tsedale Lemma, founder and editor-in-chief of Addis Standard, an independent monthly news magazine based in Ethiopia, told CNN on a Skype call. "He considered it a blanket pass to do as he wishes." "