The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2009 to US President Barak Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons. Obama's first reaction: I am humbled.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee states that Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts.
The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened, the Committee says.
The Nobel Peace Prize is an international prize which is awarded annually by the Norwegian Nobel Committee according to guidelines laid down in Alfred Nobel's will. The Peace Prize is one of five prizes that have been awarded annually since 1901 under the auspices of the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm for outstanding contributions in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. Starting in 1969, a Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel has also been awarded.
Whereas the other prizes are awarded by specialist committees based in Sweden, the Peace Prize is awarded by a committee appointed by the Norwegian Storting. According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize is to go to whoever "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". The prize includes a medal, a personal diploma, and a large sum of prize money (currently 10 million Swedish crowns).
The Nobel Peace Prize has been called "the world's most prestigious prize". The Prize is awarded at a ceremony in the Oslo City Hall on December 10, the date on which Alfred Nobel died.