Recognition for peace

Former US President Bill Clinton is among the nominees. Image: Bob McNeely, the White House

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is among the nominees. Photo: Bob McNeely, The White House

Speculation begins about this year’s Nobel Peace Prize nominees.

The Nobel Peace Prize jury in Norway received 231 nomination’s for this year’s award.

The list of nominees is secret, but experts have begun speculating about who is on the list and several people who nominated candidates have publicly announced their suggestions.

The list includes Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning, and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and the European Union itself.

Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo and one of the individuals eligible to nominate candidates, has released a short list of those names he had submitted. It is headed by Gene Sharp, a U.S. writer and philosopher who has long advocated non-violent action for social justice.

Other nominees include UNICEF, the United Nations children’s fund, and GAVI, a public-private fund partly financed by Bill Gates, in recognition of their vaccination programs.

Of the 231 nominations, 43 are organizations. Last year’s nomination list consisted of 241 nominations, and it was the largest pool of candidates ever.

Being nominated doesn’t give any indication on a candidate’s chance of being chosen. Submissions are sent from all over the world from lawmakers, universities professors, former laureates and members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

This year’s candidates is a mix of repeat nominations and new names, said Geir Lundestad, the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s non-voting secretary.

The deadline for outside nominations was Feb. 1, but the five-member committee added its own suggestions at a meeting Feb. 24, Lundestad said.

The Nobel Prizes also include awards in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature. A sixth award, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, was created by the Swedish central bank in 1968 in memory of prize founder Alfred Nobel. The Peace Prize is the only one chosen by a Norwegian committee.

Since the first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901, the Peace Prize has, in accordance with Alfred Nobel’s will, been awarded by a committee of five, appointed by the Storting (the Norwegian Parliament), but without being formally responsible to the Storting.

The winner is announced October every year, and the laureate receives the prize in Oslo on Dec. 10.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.