A critic of the Kremlin, the US president or the well-known climate activist? Who will receive the Nobel Peace Prize this year is still open. According to experts, at least one leaves empty-handed.
Thunberg or Trump, WHO or Black Lives Matter, a prize for journalists or another prize for peacemakers in Africa? Again, there is a high level of speculation as to who will receive the Nobel Peace Prize this year. The world is therefore looking excitedly to Oslo, where the Norwegian Nobel Committee will reveal the secret of this year’s winner’s name.
Bookmakers believe in Thunberg and the WHO
If peace researchers have their way, this time the prize could go to a journalist organization, human rights activist or pro-democracy activist. The bookies, on the other hand, believe in the World Health Organization and climate activist Greta Thunberg – and in the US especially in herself.
According to the Nobel Committee, a total of 318 candidates had been nominated for the prestigious prize, including 211 personalities and 107 organizations. This is the fourth highest number of nominees since the prize was first awarded in 1901.
The committee has traditionally kept the names of the nominees secret for 50 years. But a number of those eligible to nominate – including politicians, academics and former Nobel Peace Prize winners – have revealed who presented them to the jury in Oslo. According to this, Thunberg is certainly in the running, but so are the people of Hong Kong, who strive for democracy, the whistleblower Edward Snowden and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Nomination says “nothing”
However, a nomination does not have to mean anything. “Being nominated for the Peace Prize says nothing at all about the opinion of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,” said the executive director of the Nobel Foundation, Lars Heikensten, of the German news agency in Scandinavia. “A nomination in itself does not mean that you have almost received the Nobel Peace Prize.”
The same is true in the event that pundits and bookmakers are among their favorites – Greta Thunberg experienced that last year: Although the young Swede was considered a top favorite, the 2019 award went to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – although many pundits also held high on the note.
Who could it be this time? The nomination deadline already gives a first indication: candidates for this year had to be submitted by 31 January at the latest. This means that a prize to the WHO, which is ubiquitous in the pandemic, is considered unlikely, after all, the corona crisis only started its devastating course worldwide in the spring. For Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya, the situation is likely to be similar, as the situation in her country only deteriorated after the presidential elections in August.
The fight for human rights must be central
At the Stockholm Peace Research Institute Sipri, it is believed that this time the Nobel Committee could consider a prize for the fight for human rights or the environment. In the world of conflict, peace and security, there are only a few signs of progress right now, said Sipri director Dan Smith of the dpa. Meanwhile, there is a clear link between peace and climate change as it affects political stability and people’s well-being. According to Smith, this could potentially lead to an award for Thunberg, along with other young activists from around the world.
In times of fake news debates and attacks on reporters, other Noble experts point out that it may be time for an award for independent journalism – there has never been such a thing in Nobel’s history. “Journalists are often on the front lines reporting on war and peace,” said Henrik Urdal, director of the Prio peace research institute in Oslo, of the dpa. The international community needed accurate information to assess and respond to conflicts.
Urdal: Living in a world of fake news as a challenge
A journalist organization is therefore at the top of Urdal’s list of favorites: the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ). The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) would also be worthy candidates in this category, according to Urdal. “We live in a world where fake news is a major challenge for democratic societies,” he said in a podcast recently. Independent rapporteurs are therefore absolutely essential for democracies.
Young activists like Alaa Salah from Sudan, Hajar Sharif from Libya and Ilwad Elman from Somalia are also among Urdal’s favorites. The name Alexei Navalny is also on his list. The Kremlin critic’s poisoning clearly reflected one thing, Urdal said: “This just goes to show that there are anti-democratic forces in Russia that are strongly opposed to the political changes that Alexei Navalny and others are advocating.”
Researchers agree: Trump will not win him
The peace researchers, meanwhile, agree that one person will not be: US President Donald Trump. It was proposed by Scandinavian MPs for the 2021 prize, but it is also believed to have been nominated for this year. “This president has created peace around the world,” White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News recently. Trump had already said last year that he would receive the Nobel Prize “for many things” – “if they were given fairly, which is not the case.” However, he currently has completely different concerns due to his corona infection.
“I just don’t see it,” Smith said at a price for Trump and in view of his withdrawal from the Paris World Climate Agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. Urdal became even more clear in his podcast: “The chance that Donald Trump will win is absolutely nil. Not because he is Donald Trump, but because he doesn’t deserve it.” This does not mean that he cannot calculate the price at a later date – but that he has to do “much good and less bad” first. Urdal continued, “I think he will get the Nobel Prize in Literature for his tweets instead of the Nobel Peace Prize.”