Friday, October 9, 2009

How Special is Obama's Nobel Peace Prize?

Barack Obama said today,
To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace. But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build — a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action — a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.
So just how many men, how many organizations, and how many women are in the company of transformative figures who've been honored?
89 men, 22 organizations, 12 women
And how many men, and how many women, thought more deserving than the actual recipient have been omitted?
9 men: Steve Biko, César Chávez, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Jose Figueres Ferrer, Mahatma Gandhi, Raphael Lemkin, Pope John XXIII, Pope John Paul II, Oscar Romero

3 women: Corazon Aquino, Dorothy Day, Irena Sendler
And how many prize-winning men have been seen as undeserving, and how many prize-winning women?
8 men: Yasser Arafat, Henry Kissinger, Barack Obama, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Theodore Roosevelt, Lê Ðức Thọ, Woodrow Wilson

0 women
How many other prize-winning men can you name from memory? How many women?

Kathy Riordan, Open Salon: Obama "Surprised and Deeply Humbled" by Stunning Nobel Prize


G said...

My first thought when I saw the news about Obama and the Nobel peace prize was that it was from some satire news site.

J. K. Gayle said...

Jay, You're not alone. Although the Norwegians generally endorse Obama, I heard there were gasps as the news was announced.