Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) October 15, 2009 -- The judges said when they discovered President Barak Obamaâs promise of disarmament and diplomacy, was too good to ignore.
âIt was his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples", said the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee. They referred to his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation, besides combating climate change.
In awarding the prize to Obama, it was seen as an early vote of confidence in Obama's intention to build global support, for the policies of his as yet very young administration, said by Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Committee.
Obama planned to travel to Oslo in December to accept the prize. He said he was surprised and deeply humbled by the honour. "Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations."
Obama will contribute the $1.4 million cash award that comes with the prize, to charity. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who won the prize in 1984, said the decision showed that great things are expected from Obama and "wonderful recognition" of his effort to reach out to the Arab world following years of hostility. "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope".
Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, denounced the Nobel committee's decision, stating Obama had only accelerated the war and had "the blood of the Afghan people on his hands." The Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki named the Nobel decision as being "hasty."
The decision amazed many Nobel observers, because Obama only went into office less than two weeks before the February 1 nomination deadline. Obama's name had been revealed in speculation before the award, but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president.
The peace prize was partly designed to enhance ongoing peace efforts, but Obama's efforts are at an earlier stage than those of past winners. The committee acknowledges that they may not bear fruit at all.
In true Nobel tradition, nominations are put aside and remain a secret for 50 years, unless those making the submissions go public about their choice. This year's nominations included Colombian activist Piedad Cordoba, Afghan woman's rights activist Simi Samar and Denis Mukwege, a physician in war-torn Congo who opened a clinic to help rape victims.
In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stated that the peace prize should go "to 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 the formation and spreading of peace congresses".
Barak Obama is only the third sitting U.S. president to win the award. President Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919.
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