The Nobel Prize: How does it work?

The Nobel Prize: How does it work?

By goodlittleboy

The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize is scheduled to be announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo on 8 October 2021. 

According to the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who founded the awards, the prize should go to the person "who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses".

A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize may be submitted by any person who meets the nomination criteria. A letter of invitation to submit is not required. The names of the nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later. There are 329 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 out of which 234 are individuals and 95 are organizations.

Thousands of people can propose names: members of governments and parliaments; current heads of state; university professors of history, social sciences, law and philosophy; and former Nobel Peace Prize laureates, among others. 

The candidates eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize are those persons or organizations nominated by qualified individuals. A nomination for yourself will not be taken into consideration. The Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for selecting the Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

How are the Nobel Prize laureates selected? Here is a breakdown of the schedule:

September: The Nobel Committee prepares to receive nominations

January 31st, midnight: Deadline for submission of nominations

February/March: A short list is prepared after the Committee’s assessment

March through August: Advisers review

October: After a majority vote the Nobel Prize laureate is chosen

December: Nobel Prize award ceremony

While there are few criteria for the nominees, the process has sometimes been taken advantage of. An antifascist lawmaker from Sweden nominated Adolf Hitler in 1939 in an act of satire. Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, was nominated twice, in 1945 and 1948. Benito Mussolini, the Italian ruler, was nominated twice in 1935. In 2019, Mr. Donald Trump told supporters that he had been nominated by Japan’s prime minister at the time, Shinzo Abe, a claim that Mr. Abe would not confirm.  That year’s prize went to Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia.

The selection process to determine a recipient is much more rigorous. The committee, which is appointed by Norway’s Parliament, deliberates in secret, beginning in February. The group narrows the submissions to a “short list” of 20 to 30 candidates after months of deliberation. The recipient is announced in October and the award ceremony takes place on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Noble’s death.

What do the Nobel Prize winners (known as “laureate”) get? Each recipient receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a monetary award off 10 million Swedish Crowns (which works out to around 1.1 million US dollars.)

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