...and that for champions of peace by a comittee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration whatever shall be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be a Scandinavian or not.
- from the will of Alfred Nobel
The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually on December 10 by the Norwegian Nobel Comittee. Why Alfred Nobel never designated a Swedish body the job of handing out the prize, nobody knows. In Nobel's will the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) was tasked with selecting a peace prize committee. At the time of Nobel's death in 1896, Norway and Sweden were in a union with separate governments, currencies and legislation. A small peripheral European nation like Norway would not be regarded as using the prize to advance their own political agenda, thereby reducing its significance as an instrument for peace.
Several of the laureates have been highly controversial. When the 1935 prize was awarded to peace advocate and Jew Carl von Ossietzky, Adolf Hitler reacted with sharp language. As a result of the controversy, the Foreign Minister and the former Prime Minister resigned from the Nobel comittee to emphasize that the peace prize was not part of Norwegian foreign policy. From 1936, members of the Norwegian government was banned from the comittee. From 1977, comittee members were forbidden from participating in other comittees appointed by the parliament (Stortinget). Other controversial laureates are of course the Yasser Arafat/Shimon Perez/Itzhak Rabin troika from 1994 and Andrei Sakharov in 1975.
The only laureate to decline the prize is North Vietnamese Le Duc Tho in 1973. Henry Kissinger with whom he shared the prize, accepted it.
List of laureates:
Jean Henry Dunant, Switzerland, 1828-1910
Founder of the Red Cross (Comité International de la Croix-Rouge), Geneva. Initiator of the Geneva Convention.
Frédéric Passy, France, 1822-1912
Founder and President of the first French peace society (Ligue internationale et permanente de la paix, later known as Société française pour l'arbitrage entre nations).
Élie Ducommun, Switzerland, 1833-1906
Hon. Secretary of the Permanent International Peace Bureau (Bureau International Permanent de la Paix), Bern.
Charles Albert Gobat, Switzerland, 1843-1914
Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (Union interparlementaire), Bern
Sir William Randal Cremer, Great Britain, 1838-1908
Member of Parliament. Secretary of the International Arbitration League.
Institut de Droit International (Institute of International Law), Gent, Belgium.
Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner, née Countess Kinsky von Chinic und Tettau, Austria, 1843-1914 (born in Prague, then part of Austria)
Writer. Hon. President of the Permanent International Peace Bureau (Bureau International Permanent de la Paix), Bern. Author of the book Die Waffen Nieder (Lay Down your Arms).
Theodore Roosevelt, USA, 1858-1919
President of the USA. Drew up the 1905 peace treaty between Russia and Japan.
Ernesto Teodoro Moneta, Italy, 1833-1918
President of the Lombard League of Peace (Società internazionale per la pace: Unione Lombarda)
Louis Renault, France, 1843-1918
Professor of International Law, the Sorbonne, Paris.
Klas Pontus Arnoldson, Sweden, 1844-1916
Writer, former member of the Swedish parliament. Founder of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration League (Svenska freds- og skiljedomsföreningen)
Fredrik Bajer, Denmark, 1837-1922
Member of the Danish parliament. Hon. President of the Permanent International Peace Bureau (Bureau international permanent de la paix), Bern.
Auguste Marie François Beernaert, Belgium, 1829-1912
Former Prime Minister, member of the Belgian parliament, member of the International Court of Arbitration (Cour Internationale d'Arbitrage) at the Hague
Paul Henri Benjamin Balluet, Baron De Constant de Rebecque, France, 1852-1924
Member of the French parliament (Sénateur). Founder and President of the French parliamentary group for international arbitration (Groupe parlementaire de l'arbitrage international). Founder of the Commitee for the defence of national interests and international conciliation (Comité de défense des intérêts nationaux et de conciliation internationale)
The Permanent International Peace Bureau (Bureau International Permanent de la Paix), Bern. Founded in 1891.
Tobias Michael Carel Asser, the Netherlands, 1838-1913
Lawyer, Cabinet Minister. Initiator of the Conferences on International Private Law (Conférences de droit international privé) at the Hague
Alfred Hermann Fried, Austria, 1864-1921
Journalist, founder of the peace journal Die Waffen Nieder (later renamed Die Friedenswarte).
Henri La Fontaine, Belgium, 1854-1943
Member of the Belgian parliament (Sénateur). President of the Permanent International Peace Bureau (Bureau international permanent de la paix), Bern.
The prize for 1912: Elihu Root, USA, 1845-1937
Former Secretary of State. Initiator of several arbitration agreements
The prize money for 1914 was allocated to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
The prize money for 1915 was allocated to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
The International Committee of the Red Cross (Comité International de la Croix-Rouge), Geneva. Founded in 1863.
The prize money for 1916 was allocated to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
The prize money for 1918 was allocated to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
Léon Victor Auguste Bourgeois, France, 1851-1925
Former Minister of Culture, Minister of Justice and Prime Minister, President of parliament, President of the Council of the League of Nations.
The prize for 1919: Thomas Woodrow Wilson, USA, 1856-1924
President of the USA. Founder of the League of Nations
Karl Hjalmar Branting, Sweden, 1860-1925
Prime Minister, Swedish delegate to the Council of the League of Nations
Christian Louis Lange, Norway, 1869-1938
Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (Union interparlementaire), Brussels
Fridtjof Nansen, Norway, 1861-1930
Explorer, scientist and humanitarian. Norway's delegate to the League of Nations. Initiator of the Nansen Passport (for refugees)
The prize money for 1923 was allocated to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
The prize money for 1924 was allocated to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
Aristide Briand, France, 1862-1932
Foreign Minister, a negotiator of the Locarno Treaty and the Briand-Kellogg Pact
Gustav Stresemann, Germany, 1878-1929
Former Chancellor, Foreign Minister. A negotiator of the Locarno Treaty
The prize for 1925 was divided between
Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain, Great Britain, 1863-1937
Foreign Minister. A negotiator of the Locarno Treaty
Charles Gates Dawes, USA, 1865-1951
Vice President of the USA. Chairman of the Allied Reparation Commission and originator of the Dawes Plan
Ferdinand Edouard Buisson, France, 1841-1932
Former Professor at the Sorbonne, Paris. Founder and President of the League of Human Rights (Ligue des droits de l'homme)
Ludwig Quidde, Germany, 1858-1941
Historian, professor honoris causa, member of the Bavarian parliament; member of Germany's constituent assembly 1919; delegate to numerous peace conferences
The prize money for 1928 was allocated to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
Lars Olof Jonathan Söderblom, Sweden, 1866-1931
Archbishop, leader of the ecumenical movement.
The prize for 1929: Frank B. Kellogg, USA, 1856-1937
Former Secretary of State. Negotiated the Briand-Kellogg Pact
Jane Addams, USA, 1860-1935
Sociologist. International President of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Nicholas Murray Butler, USA, 1862-1947
President of Columbia University, promoter of the Briand-Kellogg Pact
The prize money for 1932 was allocated to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
Arthur Henderson, Great Britain, 1863-1935
Former Foreign Secretary. Chairman of the League of Nations Disarmament Conference 1932-34.
The prize for 1933: Sir Norman Angell, Great Britain, 1874-1967
Writer. Member of the Executive Committee of the League of Nations and the National Peace Council. Author of the book The Great Illusion, among others
Carlos Saavedra Lamas, Argentina, 1878-1959
Foreign Minister, President of the League of Nations, arbitrator in the dispute between Paraguay and Bolivia in 1935.
The prize for 1935: Carl von Ossietzky, Germany, 1889-1938
Journalist (with Die Weltbühne, among others), pacifist
Viscount Cecil of Chelwood (Lord Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne Cecil), Great Britain, 1864-1958
Writer. Former Lord Privy Seal, founder and President of the International Peace Campaign
The Nansen International Office for Refugees (Office international Nansen pour les réfugiés), Geneva.
An international aid organization established by Fridtjof Nansen in 1921
1939 - 1942
Of the prize money for this period, one-third was transferred to the Main Fund and two-thirds to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
One-third of the prize money for 1943 was transferred to the Main Fund, and two-thirds to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
Cordell Hull, USA, 1871-1955
Former Secretary of State. One of the initiators of the United Nations.
The prize for 1944: The International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva. Founded 1863
Emily Greene Balch, USA, 1867-1961
Former Professor of History and Sociology. International President of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
John Raleigh Mott, USA, 1865-1955
Chairman of the first International Missionary Council in 1910, President of the World Alliance of Young Men's Christian Associations
The Friends Service Council, London. Founded in 1647
The American Friends Service Committee (the Quakers), Washington. The society's first official meeting was held in 1672
Baron John Boyd Orr of Brechin, Great Britain, 1880-1971
Physician, nutritionist, leading organizer and Director General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, President of the National Peace Council and the World Union of Peace Organizations.
One-third of the prize money for 1948 was transferred to the Main Fund, and two-thirds to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
Ralph Bunche, USA, 1904-1971
Professor at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., Director of the UN Division of Trusteeship, mediator in Palestine in 1948
Léon Jouhaux, France, 1879-1954
President of the trade union CGT-Force ouvrière, President of the International Committee of the European Council, Vice President of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Vice President of the World Federation of Trade Unions, member of the ILO Council, delegate to the UN
George Catlett Marshall, USA, 1880-1959
General, President of the American Red Cross, former Secretary of State and of Defense, delegate to the UN, originator of the Marshall Plan.
The prize for 1952: Albert Schweitzer, France, 1875-1965.
(Born in Kaysersberg, Alsace, then part of Germany.) Physician and missionary, founder of the Lambarene Hospital in Gabon
The prize for 1954: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva
An international aid organization established by the UN in 1951
One-third of the prize money for 1955 was transferred to the Main Fund, and two-thirds to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
Lester Bowles Pearson, Canada, 1897-1972
Former Foreign Minister, President of the UN General Assembly 1952.
One-third of the prize money for 1956 was transferred to the Main Fund, and two-thirds to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
Georges Pire, Belgium, 1910-1969
Dominican, head of the aid organization for refugees L'Europe du coeur au service du monde
Philip John Noel-Baker, Great Britain, 1889-1982
Member of Parliament. Campaigner for international cooperation and peace
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld, Sweden, 1905-1961
(awarded the Prize posthumously). UN Secretary-General 1953-1961.
The prize for 1960: Albert John Lutuli, South Africa, 1898-1967 (Born in Southern Rhodesia.)
President of the South African liberation movement the African National Congress
The International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva. Founded in 1863
The League of Red Cross Societies, Geneva.
The prize for 1962: Linus Carl Pauling, USA, 1901-1994
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California. Campaigner especially for an end to nuclear weapons tests
Martin Luther King Jr., USA, 1929-1968
Leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, campaigner for civil rights
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), New York, established by the UN in 1946. An international aid organization
One-third of the prize money for 1966 was transferred to the Main Fund, and two-thirds to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
One-third of the prize money for 1967 was transferred to the Main Fund, and two-thirds to the Nobel Institute's Special Fund
René Cassin, France, 1887-1976
President of the European Court of Human Rights
The International Labour Organization (ILO), Geneva
Norman Ernest Borlaug, USA, 1914-
Led research at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Mexico City
Willy Brandt, West Germany, 1913-1992
Former Chancellor, initiator of West Germany's "Ostpolitik", embodying a new attitude towards Eastern Europe and East Germany
Henry Kissinger, USA, 1923-
Former Secretary of State
Le Duc Tho, North Vietnam, 1910-1990. Declined the prize.
Jointly negotiated the Vietnam peace accord in 1973.
The prize money for 1972 was transferred to the Main Fund
Seán MacBride, Ireland, 1904-1988
President of the International Peace Bureau, Geneva. UN Commissioner for Namibia
Eisaku Sato, Japan, 1901-1975
Former Prime Minister
Andrei Sakharov, the Soviet Union, 1921-1989
Campaigner for human rights
Amnesty International, London
A worldwide organization for the protection of the rights of prisoners of conscience.
The prize for 1976 was divided between:
Betty Williams, Northern Ireland, 1943-
Co-founder of the Peace People
Mairead Corrigan, Northern Ireland, 1944-
Co-founder of the Peace People
Mohammad Anwar Al-Sadat, Egypt, 1918-1981
President of Egypt
Menachem Begin Israel, 1913-1992
Jointly negotiated peace between Egypt and Israel
Mother Teresa, India, 1914-1997
Leader of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Argentina, 1931-
Architect, campaigner for human rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva
Alva Myrdal, Sweden, 1902-1986
Former Minister, diplomat and delegate to UN disarmament conferences
Alfonso García Robles, Mexico, 1911-1991
Diplomat and campaigner for disarmament
Lech Walesa, Poland, 1943-
Founder of Solidarity, campaigner for human rights
Desmond Mpilo Tutu, South Africa, 1931-
Bishop, former Secretary General of the South African Council of Churches
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Boston, USA.
Elie Wiesel, USA, 1928-
Oscar Arias Sánchez, Costa Rica, 1941-
President of Costa Rica, initiator of peace negotiations in Central America
The United Nations Peace-keeping Forces
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, Tibet, 1935-
Religious and political leader of the Tibetan people
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the Soviet Union, 1931-
President of the Soviet Union, helped to bring the Cold War to an end
Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma, 1945-
Opposition leader, human rights advocate
Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Guatemala, 1959-
Campaigner for human rights, especially for indigenous peoples
Nelson Mandela, South Africa, 1918-
Leader of the ANC
Frederik Willem deKlerk South Africa, 1936-
President of the Republic of South Africa
Yasser Arafat, Palestine, 1929-2004
Chairman of the PLO
Shimon Peres, Israel, 1923-
Foreign minister of Israel
Yitzhak Rabin, Israel, 1922-1995
Prime minister of Israel
Awarded for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East
Joseph Rotblat, England, 1908-
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, 1957-
For their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics
Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, East Timor, 1948-
José Ramos-Horta, East Timor, 1949-
For their work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor
International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)
Jody Williams, USA, 1950-
John Hume, Northern Ireland, 1937-
David Trimble, Northern Ireland, 1944-
For their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland
Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières)
In recognition of the organisation's pioneering humanitarian work on several continents
Kim Dae Jung, Republic of Korea, 1925-
For his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular
The United Nations
Kofi Annan, Ghana, 1938-
Secretary-General of the United Nations
For their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.
Jimmy Carter, USA, 1924-
For his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts.
Shirin Ebadi, Iran, 1947-
For her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children.
Wangari Maathai, Kenya, 1940-
For her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt, 1942-
For their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way.
The reasons for the prize being awarded is taken from The Norwegian Nobel Institute's web pages at http://www.nobel.no. Also see www.nobelprize.org.