Has the Nobel Peace Prize lost its credibility?

October 28, 2013 — by Ashley Chen and Arman Vaziri

In the last couple of years, the Nobel Peace Prize seems to have strayed from its initial purpose. It seems like the prize has lost the credibility and prestige that it once had.

The Nobel Peace Prize is an incredible and prestigious honor that gives its recipients money, fame, and achievement. Every year, a group of five Norwegians chooses a group or individual to pay tribute to with this distinction. Established in 1901, the Nobel Prize website describes the recipient as the individual or organization that has "done the most or the best work for […] the abolition or reduction of standing armies,” among other things.
This year, the awardee was the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a deserving institution. However, not every Peace Prize winner is as legitimate. In light of recent Nobel Peace Prize laureates and even nominations, it seems that the prize has strayed from its initial purpose. 
For example, this year a prominent favorite for the prize was 16-year-old Pakistani female education activist Malala Yousafzai. In the past year, Yousafzai has spoken before the U.N., met with Queen Elizabeth II and confronted President Barack Obama about drone strikes in Pakistan. According to Time magazine, she is one of the world’s top 100 most influential figures. 
While this is very impressive, her elevation to fame is in reality a direct product of the Taliban’s widely publicized attempt in October 2012 to assassinate her by shooting her in the head. Yousafzai, who was severely injured, spent the following three months in the hospital — leaving less than a year’s worth of activism for the Nobel Prize committee to consider. Though her work to promote education is outstanding, so far it has mostly comprised of speeches, not action.
The Nobel Prize is intended to commemorate a lifetime of action, not a eight months. Her nomination for the award shows how politically motivated the Nobel Peace Prize has become; the Western world just wants to commemorate a symbolic figure.
One of the most controversial laureates is President Obama, who won in 2009. According to the Nobel Prize website, Obama won because of his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” 
At the time, though, Obama was only nine months into his presidency and hadn’t accomplished anything significant yet apart from signing the American Recovery and Investment Act, which contributed nothing to world peace. 
In fact, some are arguing that in light of Obama’s actions during the past few years, his award should be revoked. 
A common complaint centers around Obama’s drone strikes against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. In Pakistan alone, drones have killed roughly 3,000 have died over a period of nine years, including multiple U.S. citizens. 
Clearly, these drone strikes are harmful to the safety of Pakistani citizens because the attacks have already resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. Far from effectively undermining Pakistani government, these strikes have led to negative feelings towards the U.S. among most Pakistanis. 
This highlights the stupidity of the Nobel Prize committee for giving him the award. Even though they couldn’t have predicted he would act in this way, they should have waited until his time as U.S. president, one of the most powerful positions in the world, ended before considering him for the award. 
Some may argue that Obama and Malala’s cases are outliers in a string of admirable Nobel laureates, but this isn’t true. Mahatma Gandhi, who led the effort to free India from British control using civil disobedience, never won the award because, to put it bluntly, the committee did not consider non-Westerners until around the 1960s. 
In short, the recent decisions of the Norwegian choosing committee have undercut the integrity of the award. In the future, they must endeavor to restore prestige to the Nobel distinction by awarding the Peace Prize to those who truly exemplify its ideals. 
 
 
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