Nobel Peace Prizes... The Facts and History

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 1:01pm.

On 27 November 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes, the Nobel Prizes.

Facts on the Nobel Peace Prize

As described in Nobel's will, one part was dedicated 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". Learn more about the Nobel Peace Prize from 1901-2008. The 2009 Nobel Prize is not yet included.

Number of Nobel Peace Prizes

89 Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded since 1901. It was not awarded on 19 occasions: in 1914-1918, 1923, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1939- 1943, 1948, 1955-1956, 1966-1967 and 1972.

Why were the Prizes not awarded in those years? In the statutes of the Nobel Foundation it says: "If none of the works under consideration is found to be of the importance indicated in the first paragraph, the prize money shall be reserved until the following year. If, even then, the prize cannot be awarded, the amount shall be added to the Foundation's restricted funds." During World War I and II, no prizes were awarded.

Number of Shared and Unshared Nobel Peace Prizes

60 Peace Prizes have been given to one Laureate only.
28 Peace Prizes have been shared by two Laureates.
1 Peace Prizes has been shared between three persons. (
Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin)

Why is that? In the statutes of the Nobel Foundation it says: "A prize amount may be equally divided between two works, each of which is considered to merit a prize. If a work that is being rewarded has been produced by two or three persons, the prize shall be awarded to them jointly. In no case may a prize amount be divided between more than three persons."

Number of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to 119 Laureates - 96 times to individuals and 23 times to organizations. Since Comité International de la Croix Rouge (International Committee of the Red Cross) was awarded three times and Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was awarded twice there are 96 individuals and 20 organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

List of all Nobel Peace Prize Laureates »
List of all Nobel Peace Prize-awarded organizations »

Youngest Peace Laureate

To date, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate is Mairead Corrigan, who was 32 years old when she was awarded the Prize in 1976.

Nearly as young, at 33 years of age, were:
33 years-old
Rigoberta Menchú Tum, (1992).
33 years-old
Betty Williams, (1976, together with Mairead Corrigan).

Oldest Peace Laureate

The oldest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to date is Joseph Rotblat, who was 87 years old when he was awarded the Prize in 1995.

Women Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

Of the 96 individuals awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 12 are women. The first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 was awarded to a woman, Bertha von Suttner.

1905 - Bertha von Suttner
1931 - Jane Addams
1946 - Emily Greene Balch
1976 - Betty Williams
1976 - Mairead Corrigan
1979 - Mother Teresa
1982 - Alva Myrdal
1991 - Aung San Suu Kyi
1992 - Rigoberta Menchú Tum
1997 - Jody Williams
2003 - Shirin Ebadi
2004 - Wangari Maathai

List of all 35 women Nobel Laureates »

Multiple Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

The work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been honoured the most - three times - by a Nobel Peace Prize. In addition, the founder of the ICRC, Henry Dunant, was awarded the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.

Linus Pauling
Chemistry 1954 »

Peace 1962 »





One Peace Laureate has Declined the Nobel Peace Prize

The Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho, awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, is the only person who has declined the Nobel Peace Prize. They were both awarded the Prize for negotiating the Vietnam peace accord. Le Doc Tho said that he was not in a position to accept the Prize, citing the situation in Vietnam as his reason.

The Vietnam Conflict (1959-1975), was fought between the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the United States-supported Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The Southern and American forces were defeated and the war ended with unification of Vietnam under the communist government of the North.
Read the Presentation Speech by the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee on the day of the award, 10 December, 1973 »

Posthumous Nobel Peace Prizes

There is one posthumous Nobel Peace Prize, to Dag Hammarskjöld in 1961. From 1974, the Statutes of the Nobel Foundation stipulate that a Prize cannot be awarded posthumously, unless death has occurred after the announcement of the Nobel Prize. Before 1974, the Nobel Prize was also awarded posthumously to Erik Axel Karlfeldt (Nobel Prize in Literature 1931).

Surprise Laureate?

Many believe that Winston Churchill was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but he was actually awarded the 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature. In fact, Churchill was nominated both for the Literature and for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Explore the Nomination database for the Nobel prize in Literature »
Explore the Nomination database for the Nobel Peace Prize »

Number of nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009

Every year, the Norwegian Nobel Committee sends out thousands of letters inviting a qualified and select number of people to submit their nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. The names of the nominees cannot be revealed until 50 years later, but the Nobel Peace Prize committee does reveal the number of nominees each year.

205 names were submitted for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, 33 of which are organizations. The Nobel Committees in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and the Prize Committee for Economics each usually receives 250-300 names every year, but this is the highest number of nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize ever. The last record was in 2005 when the Committee received 199 nominations.

Nobel Peace Prizes and Nominations in 100 years

The 109 awarded organizations and individuals over the first one hundred years of the Nobel Peace Prize (1901-2001), and the 4857 nominees, can be distributed geographically and by organization as shown below:


For more information have a look at the Conflict Map covering 1901-2001»

Examples of nominated individuals who did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize (1901-1950)

The three most common searches on individuals in the Nobel Peace Prize nomination database, are Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi and Joseph Stalin.

Joseph Stalin, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922-1953), was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945 and 1948 for his efforts to end World War II.

Mahatma Gandhi, one of the strongest symbols of non-violence in the 20th century, was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, shortly before he was assassinated in January 1948. Although Gandhi was not awarded the Prize (a posthumous award is not allowed by the statutes), the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to make no award that year on the grounds that "there was no suitable living candidate".

Read more about "the missing Laureate" »

Adolf Hitler, was nominated once in 1939 by E.G.C. Brandt, member of the Swedish parliament. Brandt changed his mind, however, and the nomination was withdrawn in a letter dated 1 February 1939.

Other statesmen and national leaders who were nominated but not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:
* Czechoslovakia: Thomas G. Masaryk, Edvard Benes,
* Great Britain: Neville Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee,
Ramsay MacDonald, Winston Churchill
* USA: the presidents William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman &
Dwight D. Eisenhover; the foreign ministers Charles Hughes, John Foster Dulles
* France: Pierre Mendès-France
* Western Germany: Konrad Adenauer
* Argentina: Juan and Eva Peron
* India: Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru
* Finland: Juho Kusti Paasikivi
* Italy: Benito Mussolini

Artists nominated but not awarded the Peace Prize:
Leo Tolstoy (Russian author), E.M. Remarque (German author), Pablo Casals (Spanish Catalan cellist and later conductor), Nicholas Roerich

Nominees not primarily known for their peace work:
John Maynard Keynes (British economist)
Pierre de Coubertin (French pedagogue and historian best known for founding the International Olympic Committee)
Lord Baden-Powell (Lieutenant-General in the British Army, writer, founder of the Scout Movement)
Maria Montessori (best known for her philosophy and method of educating children from birth to adolescence. Her educational method is still in use today in a number of public as well as private schools throughout the world)

Royal nominees:
Tsar Nikolai II (1901), Prince Carl of Sweden (1919), King Albert I of
Belgium (1922), Emperor Haile Selassi of Ethiopia (1938), King Paul I of Greece
(1950), Princess Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (1951)

How many times can someone be nominated?

Jane Addams was nominated 91 times between 1916 and 1931, when she was finally awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. By contrast Emily Green Balch, Fridtjof Nansen and Theodore Roosevelt received the Nobel Peace Prize the first year that they were nominated.

Searchable nomination database (1901-1956) »

Why a Norwegian Nobel Committee for the Nobel Peace Prize?

All Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is awarded in Oslo, Norway. The founder of the Nobel Prize, Alfred Nobel, was a Swedish cosmopolitan. In his will, he declared that the Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded by a Norwegian committee. When Alfred Nobel was alive, Norway and Sweden were united under one monarch, until 1905 when Norway became an independent kingdom.

Read more about the Norwegian Nobel Committee »

Links to more facts on the Nobel Prizes:
Facts on the Nobel Prize in Physics
Facts on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Facts on the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Facts on the Nobel Prize in Literature
Facts on the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences
Facts on all Nobel Prizes
Nomination Facts

October 10, 2009 - source NobelPrize

After reading the facts... it appears the Nobel Peace Prize has taken on a 'new' meaning in 2009... ~ SadInAmerica

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 1:01pm.


Aaron M (not verified) | Fri, 11/06/2009 - 3:57am

How could Obama ever win the Nobel Peace Prize of 2009? The "entries" for the Nobel was closed 12 days after Barack Obama was inaugurated. He hasn't done anything in those 12 days, has he? Besides getting a new dog.