The Noble Peace Prize 2003 thread

In one week, Friday, October 10th, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce the winner of this years Noble Peace Prize.

The Committee doesn’t publicize who the nominees are, but many of them are known. Amongst this years candidates we find the Pope, Jacques Chirac, Václav Havel, Bono (U2), Oswaldo Paya (Cuban oppositionist) and George Ryan. Bush and Blair are also nominated.

Other nominees are Hamid Karzai (president Afghanistan), Lula de Silva (president Brazil), Sergeij Kovaljov (Russian human rights activists), Hashem Aghajari (Iranian dissident), Wei Jingsheng (Chinese oppositionist) and Li Hongzhi (leader of the Falungong-movement). All in all, 140 individuals and 25 organizations were nominated.

Traditionally, the prize has been given to someone who has either devoted their life to peace or humanitarian efforts, or someone who has done something remarkable during the last year. Sometimes the Committee also takes the opportunity to send a message to those who prefer warfare over diplomacy, or dictatorship over democracy.

I think this year it would be harder to find someone who has done something truly remarkable recently, so the winner may be an organization or a “lifetimer”. Personally, I think the Pope is a strong candidate, along with Václav Havel and Li Hongzhi.

So, who do you dopers think will win, and why?

My vote would be for Vaclav Havel for a long commitment to freedom and peace.

Havel endorsed the Iraq war, so he has next to no chance, at least for now (though he would certainly be among my favorites). I bet it will be the Pope, who the Cardinals indicate is currently on his deathbed. His statements against the war combined with his long time reformist and interfaith views would justify (in the eyes of the committee) this prize as a final tribute. My personal choice (for who it should be) would be Aghajari, who is to me a symbol of what real democratic opposition to an oppressive government means in this day and age. He also has a reasonable chance as committee members have indicated they would like a Muslim to receive the prize. You also left off your list the IAEA/Blix/el-Baradei, who are all pretty popular with the “world peace” community.

I think it’s either the pope, who showed a lot of balls in getting political against the United States, or Bono, who initially made me smirk when he wore his “I care” hat, but has since convinced me that he really does, and puts quite a bit of effort into it too.

Of course, that may just be because there’s a few names up there I don’t recognize, so I might just go with Aghajari because, uh, Fang over there appears to think he’s pretty cool.

Who the fuck nominated Bush?

I dont like the Pope at all due to his sex “laws”… thou he seems a strong contender. Iranian dissedents might have a chance too since they are doing it “peacefully”.

The UN might get it too… pity Sergio de Mello isnt listed… he will “compete” for next years Nobel thou. He certainly deserves it.

Yeah who put Bush there ?

Gotta go for the Falun Gong dude if I can’t have Vaclav Havel.

It’s been nominated for the last several years, and I think it’s time for Universala Esperanto-Asocio (World Esperanto Association) to finally get the prize.


The Pope has been on the list for many years, but haven’t gotten it because he haven’t “endorsed” the use of condoms in African countries plagued with HIV. But there are new members in the Committee this year that might feel otherwise.

I think the UN and Annan got it a few years ago.

Bush was probably nominated by the Norwegian far-right party as well as conservative scholars in the US. That’s how it has been in the past anyway.

Well, I copied the wrong name in the OP, I don’t think Li Hongzhi and the Falungong-movement will get it since they are, eh, a bit weird. But it could be something to do with China.

Recent winners of the Nobel Peace Prize:

2002 - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

2001 - United Nations and Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

2000 - Kim Dae-jung, South Korea.

1999 - Medecins Sans Frontieres, known in English as Doctors Without Borders.

1998 - David Trimble and John Hume, Northern Ireland.

1997 - Jody Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, United States.

1996 - Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta, East Timor.

1995 - Joseph Rotblat, Britain, and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

1994 - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat; Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, Israel.

1993 - Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, South Africa.

1992 - Rigoberta Menchu, Guatemala.

1991 - Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma (also known as Myanmar).

1990 - Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet Union.

1989 - The Dalai Lama, Tibet.

1988 - The U.N. Peacekeeping Forces.

1987 - Oscar Arias Sanchez, Costa Rica.

1986 - Elie Wiesel, United States.

1985 - International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, United States.

1984 - Desmond Mpilo Tutu, South Africa.

1983 - Lech Walesa, Poland.

1982 - Alva Myrdal, Sweden; Alfonso Garcia Robles, Mexico.

1981 - Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR.

1980 - Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Argentina.

1979 - Mother Teresa, India.

1978 - Anwar Sadat, Egypt; Menachem Begin, Israel.

1977 - Amnesty International, Britain.

1976 - Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan, Northern Ireland.

1975 - Andrei Sakharov, Soviet Union.

Well, seeings as recently the EU has been making noises about Castro’s human rights violations, I’d say it goes to Osvaldo Paya. Are we taking bets on this? Just in case, put me down for $5 on Paya.

If that’s the case, it puts Osvaldo Paya completely out of contention.

Despite his bloody history as a dictator, Castro, with his solid credentials as a leftist, would be considered to be one of the good guys, as far as most members of the Nobel selection committee is concerned.

Contrary to the scientific Nobel prizes and the Literature prize, anyone can nominate a candidate for the Peace prize. That’s why there are often quite surprising candidates nominated. However, I do not think the Peace prize committee is bound to choose a winner only from nominations.

If Bush gets it, I solemnly promise I will run down my street naked.

I am also guessing it will be the Pope because of his poor health. The others will have their chance in future years.

BTW I think Bill Gates definitely deserves the prize some time in the near future. His charity work on health issues in Africa is remarkable. He may well be the greatest philanthropist ever. I don’t think he will get it this year though.

Expect to see Gates 20 years from now, Havel in a couple of years (or for the Literature prize), Paya possibly now, the Pope probably now, and Bono in 5 to 10 years.

I have a vague memory about there being a long standing tradition that the Pope doesn’t accept any awards or prizes…a crude version of the rationale being that the Pope is personally selected by God and doesn’t need the approval of the Nobel committee.

Would they award it to someone who’s not going to turn up and collect it ?

Well, literature prizes have been awarded to people who would not come to accept them. Boris Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, even though the Soviet government made him refuse it. New Literature laureate Coetzee didn’t go to accept the two Booker Prizes awarded him.


Sartre also refused to accept his Nobel Lit Prize, and IIRC Le Duc Tho didn’t accept his Peace Prize.