Tomorrow the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be announced- but what’s the purpose of the world’s most prestigious peace prize and is it still relevant?
It’s a global award that reflects the international political system we inhabit. People eagerly await tomorrow’s final decision, so often awarded to large organisations or global leaders. But are the latter the key to building peace worldwide? Here at Peace Direct, we’ve got our fingers crossed for a grassroots peace activist to take centre stage, because we believe local peacebuilders are the way ahead.
Famously secretive under a 50-year rule, the deliberations of the Nobel committee and the names of the nominees are closely guarded. This year, we are told, saw a record number of candidates – over 250: that’s a lot of peaceniks working to establish global peace and security. Amongst the names thought to be in close contention for the prize are Malala Yousafzai, Chelsea Manning and Pope Francis. Whether you agree with their work or not, they are undeniably bold individuals.
But it hasn’t always been this way. The Prize’s history is stooped in controversy – past nominees have included Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler. 1973 saw Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho awarded for negotiated settlements, resulting in the first and only rejection (by the Vietnamese winner).
So whether the winner sparks controversy or inspires a new generation, at Peace Direct we’ve got our fingers crossed for Malala. Nominated for the second time, she could be one of the few recognised for her grassroots activism, as well as being the youngest recipient of the peace prize. Her work speaks of risk taking, courage and local solutions to the conflict that surrounded her. The world needs to encourage more peacebuilders like her.