The Nobel Peace Prize jumped the shark a long time ago — probably around 1994, when Yasser Arafat became one of the laureates. This year (or perhaps next year), however, thanks to a Swedish professor, the Nobel Peace Prize could jump the Sharknado.
In a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee that was also published in a Swedish newspaper, Umeå University sociology professor Stefan Svallfors nominated National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden for the prestigious annual honor.
“Best committee members!” Svallfors says in a hale and hearty salutation.
“Edward Snowden has — in a heroic effort at great personal cost — revealed the existence and extent of the surveillance, the U.S. government devotes electronic communications worldwide,” the professor then explains. “By putting light on this monitoring program — conducted in contravention of national laws and international agreements — Edward Snowden has helped to make the world a little bit better and safer.”
Svallfors then tactfully suggests that the committee members could rectify what he sees as the grave error of giving the Peace Prize to President Barack Obama in 2009.
“The decision to award the 2013 prize to Edward Snowden would — in addition to being well justified in itself — also help to save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute that incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award U.S. President Barack Obama [the] 2009 award. It would show its willingness to stand up in defense of civil liberties and human rights, even when such a defense be viewed with disfavor by the world’s dominant military power.”
Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
The Nobel Peace Prize is given each year “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
Al Gore shared the accolade in 2007 with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change.”
The nomination probably came too late this year, reports the Daily Mail. The prize is awarded in December, and each year’s nominations must be postmarked by February 1.
That’s the bad news (for Snowden). The good news is that his nomination will be good for the December 2014 version of the prize.
Not just anybody can nominate a potential Nobel Prize winner. Social science professors are considered qualified to make such nominations, though. Other “qualified” people include members of national assemblies and recipients of prior prizes.
Norway — the country where the Nobel Peace Prize more or less resides — is among the countries where Snowden has sought asylum, and which has rejected him.
The winner of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday, October 11.
Snowden certainly has some serious competition. Diplomat-at-large Dennis Rodman has said that his efforts at establishing a friendship with North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un should put him in the running. (RELATED: Rodman: ‘If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong’)
The monetary value of the prize varies annually, but the value for each year’s prize in recent years has been over $1 million.