EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Nobel: Is activism peace?


Regarding ‘Why the Nobel Peace Prize should go to Liu Jiabao

Alfred Nobel’s will for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize was clear, explicit and unambiguous:
to reward “…the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the formation and spreading of peace congresses”.

In spite of this, the Nobel Peace Committee has once again deviated from Nobel’s will. Once again, it lost the opportunity to reward the greatest peace related achievements in modern time: the European Union. The initial objective of the Union’s founding fathers – to prevent war between former adversaries and bring lasting peace to Europe – has been achieved. Since its inception following WWII, the members of the Union have co-existed peacefully.

One year after the Committee rewarded an individual on the basis of merely empty promises – “yes, we can” – this year it recognised an activist fighting the political system in a particular country.

Contrary to Nobel Prizes in physics, etc. where the layman has almost no opportunity to have a qualified opinion, the situation relating to the Peace Prize is different. Here, the layman can have a qualified view on the compliance between Nobel’s will and potential candidates for the prize.

As a consequence, in the eyes of the layman, the moral value of the Nobel Peace Prize as a means to inspire peaceful coexistence is fading.

And that is a great pity for Alfred Nobel, for the reputation of the Committee and for all of us who believe in the useful role of the Nobel Peace Price.

Author :


  1. Thanks for quoting the exact specifications. The European Community created the longest peace in Western Europe’s two thousand year history — There was never a period of peace as long as 65 years before. And the Peace Committee ignored this fact. It is a pity that Nobel put the judgement of the prize to a committee made purely of politicians who do not see — or do not want to see — the facts in front of their eyes. (The EU is not very popular in Norway.) And he did not provide a way to appeal prizes that go to politicians who have not yet taken office– like last year’s prize — and not for facts and adherence to the criteria.

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