sexta-feira, 12 de outubro de 2007

THE PEACE NOBEL PRIZE

The Nobel Peace Prize is the name of one of five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel. According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".
The Peace Prize is awarded annually in Oslo, the capital of Norway. The actual prize always is presented on the 10th of December, the anniversary of the death of Nobel. The Norwegian king is in attendance. For the past decade, the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony at the Oslo City Hall has been followed the next day by the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, which is broadcast to over 150 countries and more than 450 million households around the world. The Concert has received worldwide fame and the participation of top celebrity hosts and performers. The selection of Nobel Peace Prize winners sometimes causes controversy, as the list of winners includes people who formerly used violent methods of problem-solving, but then later made exceptional concessions to non-violence in the attempt to achieve peace.
Nobel died in 1896 and did not leave an explanation for choosing peace as a prize category. The categories for chemistry and physics were obvious choices as he was a trained chemical engineer. The reason behind the peace prize is less clear. Some have said it was Nobel's way to compensate for developing destructive forces (Nobel's inventions included dynamite and ballistite). However, none of his explosives, except for ballistite, were used in any war during his lifetime, although the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an Irish nationalist organisation, did carry out dynamite attacks in the 1880's
The Norwegian Parliament appoints the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which selects the Laureate for the Peace Prize. The Committee chairman, currently Dr. Ole Danbolt Mjøs, awards the Prize itself. At the time of Alfred Nobel's death Sweden and Norway were in a personal union in which the Swedish government was solely responsible for foreign policy, and the Norwegian Parliament was responsible only for Norwegian domestic policy. Alfred Nobel never explained why he wanted a Norwegian rather than Swedish body to award the Peace Prize. As a consequence, many people have speculated about Nobel's intentions. For instance, Nobel may have wanted to prevent the manipulation of the selection process by foreign powers, and as Norway did not have any foreign policy, the Norwegian government could not be influenced.
Nominations for the Prize may be made by a broad array of qualified individuals, including former recipients, members of national assemblies and congresses, university professors (in certain disciplines), international judges, and special advisors to the Prize Committee. In some years as many as 199 nominations have been received. The Committee keeps the nominations secret and asks that nominators do the same. Over time many individuals have become known as "Nobel Peace Prize Nominees", but this designation has no official standing. Nominations from 1901 to 1955, however, have been released in a database. When the past nominations were released it was discovered that Adolf Hitler was nominated in 1939 by Erik Brandt, a member of the Swedish Parliament. Brandt retracted the nomination after a few days. Other infamous nominees included Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini. However, since nomination requires only support from one qualified person (eg. a history professor), these unusual nominations do not represent the opinions of the Nobel committee itself.
Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, the Nobel Peace Prize may be awarded to persons or organizations that are in the process of resolving an issue, or creating world peace rather than upon the resolution of the issue. Since the Prize can be given to individuals involved in ongoing peace processes, some of the awards now appear, with hindsight, questionable, particularly when those processes failed to bear lasting fruit. For example, the awards given to Theodore Roosevelt, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat, Lê Ðức Thọ, and Henry Kissinger were particularly controversial and criticized; the latter prompted two dissenting Committee members to resign.
In 2005, the Nobel Peace Center opened. It serves to present the Laureates, their work for peace, and the ongoing problems of war and conflict around the world.

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