Questioning the Nobel Peace Prize



Written by: Malaika Abid – Grade 10

As the Thanksgiving long-weekend began, the names of the latest Noble Peace Prize laureates were announced.  While I was delighted to hear the names of the recipients,a question formed in my mind: who decides who the winners will be?

The answer was not what I was hoping for.

It was not a committee of impossibly impartial people, nor a committee of people representing each walk of life, each religion known to humankind, each race, ethnicity, age group, etc. No, it was simply the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a committee of five members appointed by the Norwegian Parliament.1 Of course, there is no way they could ever be discriminatory as to who receives the prize. There is obviously no way there could be a political motivation behind their choices.

With further investigation, I discovered that just to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize, a person had to be nominated by one of six types of people: members of national assemblies and governments of states, members of international courts, university rectors and professors of specific fields, directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes, persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, board members of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,  and former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.1

This means that no matter how far you have went to try and achieve peace on Earth, if you are not favored by one of those types of people, there is no chance of your even being nominated for the prize. In this situation, I think it would be correct for me to say that the quote “it’s not what you know, but whom you know” that determines your chances of being considered, let alone winning, the Nobel Peace Prize.

While Alfred Nobel (founder of the Nobel Prize) had his heart in the right place when he proclaimed, in his will, that the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize will be the person“who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses,”I do believe that his vision was not upheld. The Nobel Peace Prize selection process and committee must be re-evaluated if the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize can truly be considered to have worked towards achieving peace.



1“2014 Literature Prize.” N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2014. <>.





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