The Nobel Peace Prize is named after Alfred Nobel, the Swedish Industrialist and inventor who created the five Nobel Prizes. The Nobel Peace Prize is different from the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Literature and Medicine or Physiology as it can be presented to an individual or to organizations that work towards promoting world peace. The Nobel Peace prize is often awarded to people who may have not yet accomplished their task towards achieving peace but by getting the recognition of being the Nobel Peace prize winner, it may provide the necessary encouragement to pursue their peace mission.
The Nobel Peace prize can be awarded either to a person or an organization as per the will of the Swedish creator, Alfred Nobel. The first Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded in 1901 and is considered a very prestigious award. All the same, there have been a number of controversies regarding the list of nominees and recipients in the past. Some nominees include well known names of the past such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Benito Mussolini. A particular individual may be later referred to deferentially as a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, though there may be no official merit attached to the title. The Nobel Peace prize consists of a medal, a personal diploma, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and ten million Swedish crowns which equals to more than $1.4 million USD.
The Nobel Committee consists of five Norwegian independent members who are selected by the Norwegian Parliament. The Nobel Peace Prize is an annual event and the Norwegian Nobel committee accepts nominations from qualified people which can include university professors of philosophy, political science, History and Law, members various governments and national assemblies. Nominations for the Peace prize may further include former recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, Members of the International Court of Justice (Hague), among others.
As per the wishes of Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to the individual who “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” The process of selection includes short listing five to twenty people from among all the nominees. The short listed candidates are further reviewed by the permanent advisors of the Norwegian Nobel Committee as well as other experts. Then through a series of debates and discussions, the Committee tries to arrive at a unanimous vote. In the absence of a unanimous decision, the Nobel Peace Prize winner is decided by the majority vote.
The first Noble Peace Prize was shared between Jean Henri Dunant of Switzerland for his role in creating the International Committee o f the Red Cross and Frederic Passy of France who was the founder of the French Peace Society. The recent Nobel Peace Prize winner of 2010 is Liu Xiaobo of China who got this recognition for his long and peaceful struggle for ‘fundamental human rights in China.’ Other Notable Nobel Peace Prize winners of the past include Yaseer Arafat, Henry Kissinger, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mother Teresa and Barack Obama among others.