us president barack hussein obama was awarded the 2009 nobel peace prize. the nobel committee said he won it for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy & cooperation between peoples." his efforts to support international bodies & promote nuclear disarmament highlighted the committee's choice, deemed controversial by some, considering his inauguration was less than two weeks before the february 1 nomination deadline.
early friday morning the president was awakened by his youngest daughter malia who exclaimed, "daddy you won & its bo's birthday." his other daughter sasha was quick to remind him, "we have a three day weekend coming up." upon addressing the white house he said "its good to have kids to put things in perspective." obama said he didn't feel he "deserved to be in the company of such transformative figures" who'd previously won the prestigious award. among the record 205 nominations were zimbabwean prime minister morgan tsvangirai & chinese dissident hu jia.
the nobel laureate is chosen by a five-member committee. five norwegians are chosen by norway's parliament to sit on the nobel committee. those qualified to nominate candidates include academics, international judiciary, members of national governments & previous prize winners. the committee compiles a shortlist of between five & 20 candidates. details of the nominations & selection process are kept secret for 50 years, augmenting the awards' mystique.
reactions to the committee's decision were swift & varied. mark mardell, bbc north america editor said, "there was already a huge weight of responsibility on obama's shoulders & this medal hung round his neck has just made it a little heavier." mohammed elbaradei, the head of the un's nuclear watchdog, the iaea, stated, "in less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves & the world we live in & rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself." taliban spokesman zabihuilah mujahid told the reuters news agency "obama should have won the nobel prize for escalating violence & killing civilians." republican national committee chair michael steele said, "the question americans must ask is what has obama really accomplished?"
in a prepared statement, the norwegian committee said, "only very rarely has a person to the same extent as obama captured the world's attention & given its people hope for a better future...his diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values & attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population." asked why the prize was awarded to obama less than a year after he took office, nobel committee head thorbjoern jagland said, "it was because we would like to support what he is trying to achieve...it is a clear signal that we want to advocate the same as he has done."
archbishop desmond tutu of south africa, a former winner, said, "it is an award that speaks to the promise of president obama's message of hope." french president nicolas sarkozy said the award confirmed "america's return to the hearts of the people of the world." furthermore, the statement of the nobel committee said, "mr obama had created a new climate in international politics...multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the united nations & other international institutions can play." the committee added the us was now playing a more constructive role in meeting "the great climatic challenges" facing the world & that democracy & human rights would be strengthened.
obama is the first american president to win the prize since former us president jimmy carter in 2002. former vice president al gore shared the prize in 2007. among earlier leaders, theodore roosevelt won the prize in 1906 & woodrow wilson won in 1919. first awarded in 1901, the nobel prize was invented by the swedish industrialist & inventor of dynamite alfred nobel. obama's new found gifts include a diploma, gold medal & $1.4 million, which he's donating to charity. the prize-giving ceremony for the peace award is scheduled to take place on december 10 in oslo, the norwegian capitol.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.