On Friday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018, chosen from among 331 candidates (216 individuals and 115 organisations). This is the second highest number of candidates ever, next only to the 376 nominated in 2016. A look at what work the Peace Prize honours, how it is awarded and some of the prominent winners of previous years.
In his will allocating most of his wealth to the establishment of the five Nobel Prizes, Alfred Nobel wrote: “The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts… one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
Once the Peace Prize nominations are received, the Nobel Prize Committee chooses the Laureate by a vote. A nomination may be submitted by anyone who meets certain criteria, including: members of national assemblies and heads of states; members of The International Court of Justice and The Permanent Court of Arbitration; professors of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology, and religion; previous Peace Nobel winners; and current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Committee rules prohibit disclosure of the nominees or nominators for 50 years.
There have been 98 Peace Prizes awarded up to 2017, to 131 winners (104 individuals and 27 organisations). Of the 104 individual Laureates, 16 have been women, including Mother Teresa (1979) who founded Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi (1991) and Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai (2014). Malala, also the youngest Laureate at 17, shared the 2014 award with India’s Kailash Satyarthi. Another Peace Prize winner from the subcontinent has been Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank (2006).
Other prominent Peace Laureates include American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr (1964), exiled spiritual leader Dalai Lama (1989, living in India), anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela (1993, before he became South Africa President), and former US President Barack Obama (2009).