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October 12, 09

NEWS / Obama Is Among 21 Americans Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

By Melissa Quijada
Staff Writer

Washington — President Obama stands as one of many American Nobel Peace Prize winners. He becomes the fourth U.S. president to win the award. Twenty-one Americans in all have been awarded the prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for outstanding achievements in advancing international harmony and global well-being.

The first American awarded the prize was also the first president to receive it. Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 was honored for his mediation efforts to end the Russo-Japanese War.

President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the peace prize in 1919 in recognition of his Fourteen Points peace program and creation of the Covenant of the League of Nations, an international organization he intended to foster global reconciliation. Congress never approved U.S. membership in the league, but Wilson’s efforts helped set the goal for an international organization of nations dedicated to peaceful relations, which eventually became the United Nations after World War II.

Throughout former President Jimmy Carter’s lifetime he has demonstrated active involvement in international conflict resolution and global philanthropy, especially through his organization the Carter Center, based in Atlanta. The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded former President Carter the 2002 peace prize.

Former Vice President Al Gore, mastermind behind the Oscar Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, was a co-winner with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 for informing the world about the dangers of climate change.

As a senator and former secretary of state, Elihu Root was awarded the peace prize in 1912 for his leading role in advocating and brokering international negotiations. Charles Dawes received the prize (along with a British foreign minister) during his vice presidency for his work on the Dawes plan, an attempt to collect war reparations from Germany after World War I.

The Nobel committee, recognizing Frank Kellogg’s creation of the anti-war Kellogg-Briand Pact, awarded Kellogg a peace prize in 1929. Feminist Jane Addams’ work for pacifism and international peace, and Nicholas Murray Butler’s development of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, earned them both a peace prize in 1931.

During Cordell Hull’s tenure as secretary of state, the Nobel committee acknowledged his participation in the creation of the United Nations. At the age of 79, Emily Green Balch was awarded the 1946 peace prize for her work promoting several League of Nations projects dealing with issues regarding disarmament and drug control. That same year, the committee also gave the award to John Mott, president of the World Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Associations (YMCAs).

Former Harvard professor Ralph Bunche earned the prize in recognition of his United Nations involvement as an active mediator in the Middle East. After World War II, former Army General George Marshall, who also served as secretary of state, won the peace prize for his leadership of the Marshall Plan for reconstruction of post-war Europe.

The only person to win two undivided Nobel prizes, Linus Pauling, first won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954, then won the peace prize in 1962 for his research into the negative biological effects of nuclear energy and his campaign against nuclear testing.

The Nobel committee granted civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. a peace prize in 1964. Norman Borlaug won the prize in 1970 for his contribution to the “green revolution,” which increased food production and saved hundreds of millions from starvation.

Three years later, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger shared his Nobel Peace Prize with Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho, who refused the award. The Nobel committee recognized their involvement in the Paris Peace Accords that aimed to end the fighting in Vietnam.

Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel was awarded the peace prize in 1986 for his work on behalf of oppressed people. And a founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines, Jody Williams, shared the prize in 1997 with the organization she helped establish.


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