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U.S. President Barack Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
reporters gathered in Oslo hung on every word as Thorbjorn Jagland, the
chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, uttered the name of this
While much admired around the world, the
announcement still came as a surprise as some Nobel observers believe
it is too early in his presidency for Barack Obama to receive the
award. Jagland firmly disagrees.
"If you look at the history of
the Nobel Peace Prize, we have on many occasions tried to enhance what
many personalities is [are] trying to do," Jagland noted. "For instance,
when Willy Brandt got the prize back in the 1970s, he launched
Ostpolitik in Europe which was so important in what happened many years
later. For instance giving the prize to Mikhail Gorbachev for changing
the world completely and now to President Obama who is contributing to
improve the international climate, to strengthen the international
bodies such as the U.N. for instance and that is very, very much
needed. And the committee wants to not only endorse, but contribute to
enhancing that kind of international policy and the attitudes which he
More than 200 individuals and organizations were
nominated this year, but as Jagland explains, Barack Obama won for
giving the world hope for a better future and for striving for a
"We are awarding President Obama for his
extraordinary efforts in order to strengthen dialogue in the world, to
resolve conflicts by negotiations and through the international bodies
that we have for that purpose," he said.
Mr. Obama, the first
African-American to hold the top job in the U.S. has strongly called
for disarmament and he has worked to restart the stalled Middle East
peace process since taking office nearly 10 months ago.
U.S. Vice President Al Gore won in 2007 along with the U.N. climate
panel and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was awarded the prize in