News

Obama Prepares to Accept Nobel Peace Prize

'...I will accept this award - as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century,' said Mr. Obama

Multimedia

Audio

Less than one year after he took office, U.S. President Barack Obama is preparing to go to Norway to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.  He says he is humbled by the award and not sure he has done enough to warrant such a high honor.  

The announcement by the chairman of the Nobel Committee took the world by surprise.

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama," announced Thorbjoen Jagland.

Even the president was stunned.

"To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize," he said.

A new public opinion poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly agree.

Peter Brown is head of the Quinnipiac University Poll, which surveyed roughly 2,300 Americans about the award.

"Twenty-six percent of Americans think that he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize - obviously not a very large number," said Brown.

Support was extremely low among Republicans and independent voters.  And Brown notes that even among members of the president's own Democratic Party, only 49 percent of voters say the Nobel Committee made the right choice.

"Eight percent of Republicans think he deserves the award.  That is a fairly low number," said Peter Brown.  "And, interestingly, 19 percent of Independents think he deserves the award.  Clearly, Democrats to a much larger degree than anyone else - but still, not even a majority of Democrats - think he deserves the award."

The president has admitted as much, saying that sometimes the Nobel Prize is awarded not to honor a specific achievement, but 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," said Mr. Obama.

The White House says Mr. Obama's Nobel lecture in Oslo will build on those themes.  But Spokesman Robert Gibbs says he will also talk about the reality of being a Nobel peace laureate who is leading a nation at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We'll address directly the notion, I think, that many have wondered [about], which is the juxtaposition of the timing for the Nobel Peace Prize and his commitment to add more troops into Afghanistan," said Gibbs.

The conflicts weigh on President Obama as he prepares to join the ranks of Nobel Peace Prize recipients - men and women like Nelson Mandela; Martin Luther King, Jr.; and Aung San Suu Kyi.  He acknowledges his accomplishments pale by comparison, and suggests that his award might be more about hope than accomplishments.  

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs