The Norwegian Academy will today announce the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2017. The winner will be selected by a panel appointed by the Norwegian parliament. There are 318 candidates in the fray this year — the second highest since last year, when there were 376.
Since the inception of the award 1901, 97 prizes have been awarded, of which only 16 were given to women.
Here are the most popular Nobel Laureates, according to the committee, till date:
1. Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr dedicated his life to fight racial inequality. Known for his iconic “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, King aspired for an America where its inhabitants would be judged by their personal qualities and not by the colour of their skin. A follower of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, in 1955 King began his struggle to persuade the US Government to declare the policy of racial discrimination in the southern states unlawful. He was awarded the Peace Prize in 1964. In April 1968, he was murdered by a white person.
2. Malala Yousafzai
Youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai was born in Swat district of northwestern Pakistan in July, 1997. She was attacked by Taliban in 2012 for demanding girls’ right to education. She continues her work in the field and was awarded the Peace Prize in the year 2014.
3. Mother Teresa – Saint Teresa of Calcutta
Born as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Uksup, Ottoman Empire (present day Macedonia) on August 26, 1910, she joined a nunnery at the age of twelve and was given the name Teresa. She was sent to Calcutta (present day Kolkata) to be a teacher. There, she founded a new sisterhood called Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa and her organisation are credited with building homes for lepers and hospices for terminally ill in Calcutta. However, she was criticised for holding a conservative view on abortion and for allegedly refusing pain relief to dying patients while herself availing it. She was awarded with the Peace Prize in 1979. These are the likely nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize 2017
4. Jane Addams
The second woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Addams founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919, and is credited for working to get the great powers to disarm and conclude peace agreements. She worked to help the poor and to stop the use of children as industrial laborers in US. She also ran Hull House, a center in Chicago which helped immigrants in particular. Addams chaired a women’s conference for peace held in the Hague in the Netherlands during World War I, and unsuccessfully tried to pursue then US President Woodrow Wilson to mediate peace between the warring countries. Branded a dangerous radical and a danger to US security for speaking out against US entering the war, Addams was awarded the peace prize in 1931.
5. Elie Wiesel
Jewish author, philosopher and humanist Elie Wiesel was the world’s leading spokesman on the Holocaust. He gave equal importance to fight indifference and the “it’s no concern of mine” attitude. Wiesel saw the struggle against indifference as a struggle for peace. In his words, “The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference”. He was awarded the Peace Prize in 1986.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Nelson Mandela in 1993 for his work on “the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.” The South African, one of the country’s first black lawyers, fought for black rights and against oppression. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for high treason and conspiracy against the state in 1962; he spent 18 years in jail.
7. Rigoberta Menchú Tum
The Guatemalan Indian woman won the prize in 1992 “in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” Rigoberta was nominated by several organisations who wanted to highlight that the entry of Europeans in America had led to the suppression of indegenous populations. She later became a UN Ambassador for the world’s indegenous populations.
8. Juan Manuel Santos
The Colombian President was the sole recipient of the peace prize in 2016 for “his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.” He orchestrated negotiations between the government and FARC guerrillas, which resulted in a ceasefire in 2016.
9. Muhammad Yunus
The 2006 Laureate from Bangladesh founded the Grameen Bank, which granted poor people small loans — or micro-credit. He won the award of his effort to “create economic and social development from below.” Yunus, who believes poverty means being deprived of human value, conceptualised his project during the Bangladesh famine in 1974.
10. Theodore Roosevelt
Former US President Theodore Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for negotiating peace in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05. He was also a collaborator of several other peace treaties. Roosevelt was the first statesman to be awarded the prize.
Roosevelt’s win stirred controversy as the Norwegian Left felt he was a “military mad” imperialist. The Swedish media reported the news saying it made Alfred Nobel turn in his grave. The Norwegian Committee had reportedly also drawn flak for trying to win friends with the award.