The Nobel Peace Prize is the world’s most renowned award presented for peace. It is one of the five categories of the Nobel Prizes, and possibly the most controversial.
The youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate was Malala Yousafzai.
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the prestigious international awards founded by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, innovator, and inventor of the dynamite. The criteria for this prize are different from those for the other categories. While the other four are awarded for excellence in their particular fields, the peace prize could either be given to an individual or an organization who or which is working to achieve world peace. In the words of Alfred Nobel, the peace prize should be granted “to the person 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 selection committee of the Nobel Peace Prize is different from that of the other awards. The other Nobel Prize winners are selected by committees which are related to that particular field. However, for the Peace Prize, the recipient is chosen by a team of 5 members, known as the Norwegian Nobel Committee. This Committee is selected by the Norwegian Parliament. The nominees for the prize can be suggested by members of the National Assemblies and Congresses, or by international judges, university professors (only of science, theology, history, law, and philosophy), former advisers of the Prize Committee, and prior recipients of this award. The nominations are kept a secret; however, a database listing the names of the nominees from the years 1901 to 1951 was released. In the following sections of this Buzzle article, we give you a list of Nobel Peace Prize winners from 1901 to 2015.
Henry Dunant (Switzerland)
The award honored his role in founding the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Frédéric Passy (France)
The award honored his founding of the first French peace society called Société française pour l’arbitrage entre nations.
Élie Ducommun (Switzerland)
For his role as the first honorary secretary of the Permanent International Peace Bureau
Charles Albert Gobat (Switzerland)
For his role as an Inter-Parliamentarian and the Secretary General of the Permanent International Peace Bureau.
William Randal Cremer (United Kingdom)
For his role as the Father of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. He worked for the use of arbitration to resolve international conflicts to prevent war.
Institute of International Law (Belgium)
For promoting international arbitration and winning approval of states to accept the rules of law in wartime.
Bertha von Suttner (Austria-Hungary)
She authored one of 19th century’s most influential books, “Lay Down Your Arms”. She became one of the leaders of the international peace movement, and founded the Austrian Peace Society in 1891.
Theodore Roosevelt (United States)
For having mediated peace in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-5.
Ernesto Teodoro Moneta (Italy)
For standing out as the unrivaled leader of the Italian peace movement.
Louis Renault (France)
For his work as a brilliant French international lawyer and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague”
Klas Pontus Arnoldson (Sweden)
For his work as founder of the “Swedish Peace and Arbitration League
Fredrik Bajer (Denmark)
For his role as a Soldier, Politician, an Organizer and Peace Activist
Auguste Beernaert (Belgium)
For his inter-parliamentary work and at the international peace conferences at the Hague in 1899 and 1907.
Paul Henri d’Estournelles de Constant(France)
For his role as a French diplomat and parliamentarian, who devoted his life almost exclusively to working for peace and arbitration
Permanent International Peace Bureau (Switzerland)
For its role in taking initiatives to establish peace societies in their local communities. It also campaigned for disarmament and for the use of mediation and arbitration to resolve international conflicts.
Tobias Asser (Netherlands)
For his work in the field of international private law
Alfred Fried (Austria-Hungary)
For his work as founder of the German Peace Society
Elihu Root (U.S)
For having following his goal that disputes between states must be resolved by arbitration
Henri La Fontaine (Belgium)
For his work as an activist in the international peace movement. He organized a world conference for international organizations to create an intellectual parliament for humanity.
International Committee of the Red Cross (Switzerland)
For facing a huge task of trying to protect the rights of the prisoners of war during World War I.
Woodrow Wilson (U.S.)
For his role as a leading architect behind the League of Nations, which was to ensure world peace after millions of people were killed in the First World War.
Léon Bourgeois (France)
For his involvement in international peace work through the both the Hague conferences of 1899 and 1907. According to him, conflicts must be resolved by arbitration and an international court.
Hjalmar Branting (Sweden)
For his work in the League of Nations
Christian Lange (Norway)
For his work as a secretary-general of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and as the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Fridtjof Nansen (Norway)
For engaging in humanitarian relief work in struggling against severe famine in the Soviet Union. He was also in charge of the exchanges of 400,000 prisoners of war between Russia, Germany, and the former Austria-Hungary.
Sir Austen Chamberlain (UK)
For his work aimed at assuring peace between the rival countries Germany and France.
Charles G. Dawes (U.S.)
“For having contributed to reducing the tension between Germany and France after the First World War”
Aristide Briand (U.S.)
“For reconciliation between Germany and France after World War I.”
Gustav Stresemann (Germany)
“For reconciliation between Germany and France after World War I.”
Ferdinand Buisson (France)
Ludwig Quidde (Germany)
“For their contributions to Franco-German reconciliation”
Frank B. Kellogg (United States)
“For having been one of the initiators of the Briand-Kellogg Pact of 1928.”
Nathan Soderblom (Sweden)
For his passionate work as a church leader to create a common Christian platform for peace.
Jane Addams (United States)
For having founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919, and her work to get the great powers to disarm and conclude peace agreements.
Nicholas Murray Butler (United States)
“For his efforts to strengthen international law and the International Court at the Hague”
Sir Norman Angell (UK)
For authoring The Great Illusion and for his work as educator and defender of the League of Nations.
Arthur Henderson (UK)
For his work on the League of Nations, and being one of the important architects behind the organization’s disarmament conference.
Carl von Ossietzky (Germany)
“For his role as a pacifist and journalist in the struggle against Germany’s arms control and disarmament
Carlos Saavedra Lamas (Argentina)
For his major contributions in bringing about peace between Paraguay and Bolivia following the Chaco war in the 1930s, and for his work on South America’s anti-war pact, which promoted the principle under international law of condemning all wars of aggression.
Robert Cecil (UK)
For his work with the League of Nations Lord Cecil initiated a nationwide campaign demanding that the League of Nations take up economic and military penal sanctions against violators of the peace. He was also one of the leaders of the International Peace Campaign (IPC), which worked for disarmament and collective security through the League of Nations.
Nansen International Office for Refugees (League Of Nations)
For its work in aiding refugees. They helped the Armenians who were expelled out of Turkey, which was an important driving force behind the drawing up of the League of Nations Refugee Convention.
International Committee of the Red Cross (Switzerland)
“For the great work it has performed on behalf of the prisoners of war. They established contacts between prisoners of war and their families, sent parcels of clothes, medicine and food, inspected prison camps, and organized prisoner exchanges.
Cordell Hull (United States)
“For his playing an important part in the planning of the United Nations Organization
Emily Greene Balch (United States)
For having worked all her life for disarmament and peace.
John Raleigh Mott (US)
For having contributed to the creation of a peace-promoting religious brotherhood across national boundaries.
Friends Service Council (The Quakers) (UK)
American Friends Service Committee (US)
For carrying out the missionary and engaging for a long time in providing aid to the poor and sick. They spearheaded the struggles against slavery, for social reforms, and for women’s rights.
The Lord Boyd-Orr (UK)
For his role in securing peace. He argued for a world government ruling according to rules of international law.
Ralph Bunche (United States)
For his contributions in the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 by arranging a cease-fire between Israelis and Arabs during the war.
Léon Jouhaux (France)
For his work for social equality and Franco-German reconciliation.
Albert Schweitzer (France)
For having founded the Lambaréné (République de Gabon), a French colony at the time. He wanted to reduce suffering, and hence studied medicine. He also built and ran a hospital at Lambarene.
George Catlett Marshall (United States)
“For a plan aimed at the economic recovery of Western Europe after World War II.”
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Switzerland)
For its humanitarian work and international aid
Lester Bowles Pearson (Canada)
for his role in trying to end the Suez Crisis by sending a United Nations Emergency Force to the region to separate the warring parties.
Dominique Pire (Belgium)
For his role as a leader of the relief organization for European refugees “L’Europe du Coeur au Service du Monde”
Philip Noel-Baker (United Kingdom)
For having worked ardently for international peace and co-operation
Albert Lutuli (South Africa)
For his role as a President of the African National Congress. He was in the very forefront of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
Dag Hammarskjöld (Sweden)
“For having built up an efficient and independent UN Secretariat, and for having taken an independent line towards the great powers” He was given the award posthumously.
Linus Carl Pauling (US)
“for his campaign against nuclear weapons testing”
International Committee of the Red Cross (Switzerland)
League of Red Cross Societies (Switzerland)
For their work in the protection of human rights in the ICRC’s 100 years of existence.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (United States)
He was a campaigner for civil rights and the first person in the Western world to have shown us that a struggle can be waged without violence.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (United Nations)
“An international aid organization.”
René Cassin (France)
He was the main person behind the UN commission that drew up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
International Labour Organization (United Nations)
Norman E. Borlaug (United States)
“for his contributions to the “green revolution” that was having such an impact on food production particularly in Asia and in Latin America.”
Willy Brandt (Germany)
As a member of the Labor Party, he supported the campaign for a Peace Prize for Ossietzky. He campaigned for a free Norway and a democratic Germany.
Henry Kissinger (United States)
Lê Đức Thọ (Vietnam North)
“For the 1973 Paris agreement intended to bring about a cease-fire in the Vietnam war and a withdrawal of the American forces”
Seán MacBride (Ireland)
“For his efforts on behalf of human rights, among other things as one of the founders of Amnesty International”
Eisaku Satō (Japan)
He was given the award because as Japanese Prime Minister he represented the will for peace of the Japanese people, and he had signed the nuclear arms Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970.
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov (Soviet Union)
“for his struggle for human rights, for disarmament, and for cooperation between all nations”
Betty Williams (UK)
Mairead Corrigan (UK)
The award honored their fight against the use of violence in the conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, and activities for the Peace People.
Amnesty International (United Kingdom)
“for protecting the human rights of prisoners of conscience”
Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat (Egypt)
“for the Camp David Agreement, which brought about a negotiated peace between Egypt and Israel”
Mother Teresa (India)
“For her humanitarian work”
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Argentina)
“For his courageous nonviolent struggle that had lit a light in the darkness of Argentina’s violence”
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (United Nations)
“For their work in international aid”
Alva Myrdal (Sweden)
Alfonso García Robles (Mexico)
“for their work in the disarmament negotiations of the United Nations”
Lech Wałęsa (Poland)
“For his campaign for freedom of organization in Poland”
Desmond Tutu (South Africa)
“For his opposition to South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime and for his clear views and fearless stance, characteristics which had made him a unifying symbol for all African freedom fighters
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (United States)
For “authoritative information and creating an awareness of the catastrophic consequences of atomic warfare. The committee believed that this contributed to an increase in the pressure of public opposition to the proliferation of atomic weapons and to a redefining of priorities, with greater attention being paid to health and other humanitarian issues.”
Elie Wiesel (United States)
He witnessed the genocide committed by the Nazis during World War II. He is a leading spokesperson on the Holocaust. He worked towards making the world learn from the Holocaust and his fight against indifference is his struggle for peace.
Óscar Arias (Costa Rica)
“for his work for peace in Central America, efforts which led to the accord signed in Guatemala on August 7 this year”
United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces (United Nations)
It was awarded to military personnel who had served as observers and UN soldiers. With this, the committee intended to highlight the need for United Nations to have a greater importance in international politics.
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama (India)
“In his struggle for the liberation of Tibet he opposed the use of violence. He advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect. His peace philosophy was based on respect for all living beings and the idea of a universal responsibility.”
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (Soviet Union)
“for his leading role in the peace process which today characterizes important parts of the international community”
Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma)
“for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights”
Rigoberta Menchú (Guatemala)
“for her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples”
Nelson Mandela (South Africa)
Frederik Willem de Klerk (South Africa)
“for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”
Yasser Arafat (Palestine)
Shimon Peres (Israel)
Yitzhak Rabin (Israel)
“for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East”
Joseph Rotblat (UK)
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (Canada)
“for their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics and, in the longer run, to eliminate such arms”
Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo (East Timor)
José Ramos-Horta (East Timor)
“for their work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor.”
Jody Williams (United States)
International Campaign to Ban Landmines (Switzerland)
“for their work for the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines”
John Hume (UK)
David Trimble (UK)
“for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland”
Médecins Sans Frontières (Switzerland)
“in recognition of the organization’s pioneering humanitarian work on several continents”
Kim Dae-jung (South Korea)
“for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular”
United Nations (United Nations)
Kofi Annan (Ghana)
“for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world”
Jimmy Carter (United States)
“for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development”
Shirin Ebadi (Iran)
“for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children.”
Wangari Muta Maathai (Kenya)
“for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace”
Mohamed ElBaradei (Egypt)
International Atomic Energy Agency (United Nations)
“for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way”
Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh)
Grameen Bank (Bangladesh)
“for advancing economic and social opportunities for the poor, especially women, through their pioneering microcredit work”
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (United Nations)
Al Gore (United States)
“for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”
Martti Ahtisaari (Finland)
“for his efforts on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts”
Barack Obama (United States)
“for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people”
Liu Xiaobo (China)
“for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China”
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia)
Leymah Gbowee (Liberia)
Tawakkul Karman (Yemen)
“for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”
European Union (European Union)
“for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.”
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (International)
“for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.”
“for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”
Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (Tunisia)
“for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011”
Controversial Peace Prize Winners
The Norwegian Nobel committee has been criticized many times for selecting controversial people as Nobel Laureates. Some of them were Menachem Begin, Woodrow Wilson, Yasser Arafat, Martin Luther King Jr., Henry Kissinger, and Cordell Hull. When the database of the nominations was released, it was found that even Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Stalin were nominated for the Peace Prize. However, as the nominations were not made by the committee members, they could not be held responsible for such instances. There have also been controversies for not awarding the prize to certain people who have contributed immensely towards world peace. The most debated person in this case is Mahatma Gandhi, who was nominated several times, but never granted the prize.
The Nobel Peace Prize is an award that is held in high regard. Irrespective of the controversies surrounding it, it serves as an encouragement for people who are constantly striving to achieve peace in the world.