American President Barrack Obama received the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize amidst conflicting opinion and much controversy. Some cried “too soon”, others called it a ‘propeller for action’. We have scanned the headline details as reported by The New York Times, Yahoo News and The Guardian to collect a few facts that may explain the circumstances and the realities surrounding the award, that The New York Times termed a ‘stunning surprise’.
1. US President & Nobel Prize
Obama is the fourth U.S president to have received this prestigious award after Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter. He is, however, the first one to have received this award, in the very first year of his term as the president of United States of America.
2. Norwegian Noble Committee
The Norwegian Nobel Committee that announced the award is quoted as saying that the presentation of the award is “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”.
3. Obama & Arab World
Many see this as a reference to the American President’s efforts to reach out to the Arab world in the great speech he delivered at Cairo University in Egypt and the efforts he has announced to pursue in his determination to propagate non-proliferation.
4. Nobel Prize for Promise of Action
The award has attracted immense criticism in all quarters, with authorities like the Iranian Foreign Minister and previous recipients of the award calling it a hasty decision; many believe that this award is more for the sake of the ’promise of action’ rather than the action in itself. The promise of Obama, as it is widely being referred to, is being complimented even before the realization of that promise. Critics have expressed reservations over whether Obama has proven himself worthy of the award as yet.
5. European Community & Obama’s Nobel Prize
It should be kept in mind that this is, strictly, a European Award, given out by a European committee. President Obama has made more noticeable efforts than those of his predecessors to establish more cooperative relations with the European Community. This award, then, comes as a demonstration of European approval for his policies, perhaps focusing more on the President’s Euro-centric policies rather than on what he has achieved so far on the international front.
6. Noble Peace Prize or Popularity Contest ?
Critics have argued that the Nobel Peace Prize is beginning to become more of a popularity contest than a recognition of true humanitarian achievement. It draws more attention to the award itself if it is given out to a personality like Obama rather than some unknown Palestinian or African social worker who has sacrificed body and soul to help others.
7. President feels humbled
President Obama has announced that he will give the money received from the award to charity, adding that he feels hugely “humbled” and unworthy of being placed in the company the award puts him in.
8. Wars & Noble Peace Prize
Ironically enough, the award comes at a time when the President is still overseeing two wars- in Afghanistan and Iraq- and during a month that he may be making decisions to send out more troops to these territories.
9. USA Today Gallup Poll
In a USA Today Gallup Poll conducted from October 16 to October 19, it was found that 61 percent of Americans believed that the President did not deserve to receive the award.
10. Obama to receive the award in prestigious ceremony
The White House has announced that Barrack Obama will fly out to Oslo to receive the award at the prestigious ceremony in early December.
With fingers all crossed, the world waits for the realization of the “promise of Obama”, as the Nobel Peace Prize accredits him with the positive change in the international political climate.