In 2009, Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just one year into his presidency.
“To be honest, I do not feel I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize,” Obama said at the time.
Now, nearly six years later, former director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute is having doubts about the decision. In a recently published memoir called “Secretary of Peace: 25 years with the Nobel Prize,” Geil Lundestad wrote the committee reached a unanimous decision to award Obama the prize.
The committee hoped to give Obama some momentum in his nuclear disarmament efforts, Geil recalled in his memoir, according to Norway’s VG newspaper.
In the memoir, Lundestad admitted that granting Obama the award did not fulfill the committee’s expectations.
“Many of Obama’s supporters believed it was a mistake,” Lundestad wrote. “As such it did not achieve what the committee had hoped for.”
Lundestad’s memoir contained several other noteworthy passages.
According to Lundestad’s account, Obama’s staff tried to find a way for the president to avoid the ceremony. But the committee only allows recipients to miss an award ceremony in exceptional circumstances, such as imprisonment.
Lundestad called a press conference Thursday morning at the Nobel Peace Center to respond to the attention his memoir is getting.
“Several of you have written that I believe the prize to Obama is a mistake, but then you cannot have read the book,” Lundestad told VG newspaper.
The memoir does not appear to be for sale in the United States.