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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Explained: Here’s a look at the US Presidents who have won the Nobel Peace Prize

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is scheduled to be announced October 9. Should Donald Trump win next year, he would become the fifth US President in history to be given the prestigious award.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 16, 2020 1:41:38 pm
From left: Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. (Photos: AP, Reuters, and Wikimedia Commons)

A far-right Norwegian legislator on Wednesday said that he has nominated US President Donald Trump for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts towards furthering peace in the Middle East.

Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of Norway’s Progress Party, cited Trump’s role in the recent landmark agreement between Israel and the UAE, and said, “For his merit, I think (Trump) has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other peace prize nominees.”

This is the second time that Tybring-Gjedde has sought the award for Trump. In 2018, along with another Norwegian lawmaker, he had nominated the American leader for his work in reducing tensions between North and South Korea.

Trump, on his part, has repeatedly expressed his desire for being bestowed with the Peace honour. Earlier this year, he took partial credit for the award given in 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, for the latter’s initiative in resolving Ethiopia’s border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

Referring to Ali, Trump had said, “I made a deal. I saved a country, and I just heard that the head of that country is now getting the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the country.”

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is scheduled to be announced October 9. Should Trump win next year, he would become the fifth US President in history to be given the prestigious award.

A look at the US Presidents and Vice-Presidents who have won the Nobel Peace Prize:

Theodore Roosevelt (1906)

Roosevelt, the 26th occupant of the White House (1901-09), was not only the first American president but also the world’s first statesman to win the honour, five years after the Peace Prize was instituted in 1901.

A historian, biographer, statesman, hunter and naturalist, Roosevelt was given the prize for negotiating peace between imperial Russia and Japan after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. Roosevelt was also praised for his efforts in resolving a dispute between the US and Mexico through arbitration, and for extending the use of arbitration as a means for settling international disputes.

At home, Roosevelt launched radical social and economic reform policies, and earned a reputation as a “trust buster” for breaking up monopolies.

Critics, however, blame Roosevelt for nurturing America’s imperial ambitions, such as completing his country’s domination of the Philippines. He is also known for opposing the efforts of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President and second top statesman from the country to win the Nobel Peace Prize, towards making the US a member of the League of Nations.

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Woodrow Wilson (1919)

Wilson (US President, 1913-21) was given the award for his efforts in ending World War I, and for being the key architect of the League of Nations– born out of his famous ‘Fourteen Points’. Although the League faltered in a few years, it served as a blueprint for the United Nations after World War II.

At home, Wilson saw the reduction of import duties, started America’s central bank and a national business oversight body, and strengthened anti-monopoly and labour laws. In his second term, the US passed its 19th constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.

However, despite his many achievements, Wilson held highly racist views, and his administration is blamed for pushing back against decades of African American progress by using tactics such as segregating the country’s civil service and demoting or transferring Black officials.

In June this year, after anti-racism protests swept the US, Princeton University dropped Wilson’s name from its prestigious School of Public and International Affairs; joining a list of famous organisations in the country that announced efforts towards addressing systemic racism.

Jimmy Carter (2002)

The 39th President was awarded the Peace Prize “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development”.

During his presidency (1977-81), Carter earned praise for his role in bringing about a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. His later years were more fraught, including foreign policy failures such as the conflict with Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, culminating in him losing re-election to the conservative Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Post his presidency, Carter pursued peace and mediation efforts independently, and co-founded the Carter Center, a non-profit that chiefly works to advance human rights.

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Barack Obama (2009)

The country’s 44th President (2009-2017) was given the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”. Cited among Obama’s achievements were his promotion of nuclear non-proliferation, and bringing a “new climate” in international relations.

Obama was bestowed with the honour less than eight months after he was sworn in, and many, including Obama supporters, criticised the Nobel committee’s decision. Geir Lundestad, the former Nobel secretary, later expressed regret for the selection.

Obama donated the full prize money – 10 million Swedish kronor (around $1.4 million) – to charity.

Apart from the four US Presidents, one Vice President– Al Gore (1993-2001) – has been given the Nobel Peace Prize, who shared the honour in 2007 with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for their joint efforts “to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”

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