The Nobel Peace Prize is one of many fine awards that signify a commitment and significant contribution to peace. Awarded to 25 organizations and 101 individuals, past winners include Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa and International Committee of the Red Cross. Winners over the last five years include an American President and several activists for women’s rights. One thing all winners have in common in a deep desire to see humans improve in the way they treat each other.
Barack H. Obama, Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2009
Commended for extraordinary efforts to increase cooperation between peoples and strengthen diplomacy on a global stage, Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize during his first term as President of the United States of America. President Obama joined former presidential award recipients Jimmy Carter, Woodrow Wilson, and Theodore Roosevelt. The awarding committee was focused on informing the world that it stood behind President Obama’s approach to important global problems, such as the decrease of war and encouraging peace between conflicting nations.
Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2010
Mr. Xiaobo was the first Chinese resident to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and was commended for his commitment to human rights in China. As a literary critic and poet, he is one of the most visible supporters of the pro-democracy movement in China. He was part of the protest in Tiananmen Square and is currently serving a prison term of 11 years for statements made in essays he helped to write.
Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkol Karman, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize Winners 2011
In 2011, custom awards were given to each of these three women for their ongoing fight for women’s rights in various places throughout the world. With a focus on non-violent demonstrations, the women place heavy emphasis on women’s right to participate in peace-building work and the importance of women’s safety. These women believe strongly that the world cannot move forward until women are afforded the same rights as men and treated equally in all countries.
European Union (EU), Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2012
The European Union was given the Nobel Peace Prize for over six decades of contributions to human rights, democracy, and peace and reconciliation in Europe. Faced with social unrest and serious economic difficulties, the Norwegian Nobel Committee hoped to focus on the importance of what the Union attempts to do as a stabilizing force in Europe as it transforms from a continent ravaged by war to a peaceful region.
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2013
The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the OPCW for its efforts to define chemical weapons under international law. After rumors of chemical weapons in Syria circulated, the OPCW set up a deadline for all nations to dispose of their chemical weapons. According to the committee, Alfred Nobel felt strongly about disarmament, and the OPCW is focused on disarming all nations to encourage peace.
Alfred Nobel and His Dedication to Peace
The Nobel Peace Prize was first given in 1901 after Alfred Nobel included the specifications in his last will, written in 1895. He left money to fund the prize to those with extraordinary achievement in chemistry, physics, medicine, literature, and particularly for work in peace.