Peace Scholar Post: “The Nobel Peace Institute- The Laureates and the Controversy” by Maggie Steinberg

The Nobel Peace Institute- The Laureates and the Controversy

Yesterday, the Peace Scholars visited the Nobel Institute to look at their exhibits of the previous winners of the Peace Prize, including the European Union, which won the prize in 2012. The displays were incredibly interactive, giving details on each winner and why the committee decided to award the prize to the people or organizations. The European Union exhibition provided a history of the EU, the controversy surrounding the award, and the achievements of the EU as an organization dedicated to making sure an event such as WWII would never happen again. I think it was a good move to describe the reasons behind the awards, especially since some have been controversial. The Nobel Committee doesn’t necessarily award the Peace Prize for achievements- sometimes they award the prize as a motivator to continue efforts toward peace.

The more I’ve learned about the Peace Prize committee, the more I have come to realize that peace can mean a variety of things depending on the person. The Nobel Committee is tasked with choosing one person every year who they deem worthy of promoting peace, while understanding the implications the Prize can have on the winners. I don’t believe this is an easy task, especially when trying to keep the award as unpolitical as possible. They must take into account the safety of a potential winner, especially if the award could put them further in danger. Other factors are the potential achievements of the winner; can they deliver up to the world’s expectations as a promoter of peace?

Being in Oslo has really opened my mind to how much the Norwegian people ascribe to the vision of a “peace loving” nation. While this may not be true in practice, it is something I see Norwegian institutions, especially the Nobel Institute, attempting to live up to. It is not easy to live under the expectation of being peaceful, especially in the interconnected, globalized world. However, the Nobel Peace Prize is one of the few international awards that can effectively start dialogue about what it means to achieve peace and keep it.

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