Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Each year the Nobel Prizes are awarded in 5 areas: Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and the Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to a group or individual “who [has] 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.” Nominations are not announced by the Nobel Prize Committee, following their 50 year secrecy rule, but by the nominators themselves.
This year’s nominations include the World Health Organization for their COVAX program that advocates for fair access to COVID-19 vaccinations for poor countries, the Law Enforcement Legislative Reform Committee, a police reform group advocating for criminal justice reforms, Khalsa Aid for their relief work across the world, and Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade for their “solidarity and selflessness, saving thousands of lives by putting their own lives at risk” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other nominees include:
Lars Haltbrekken, a Nobel Prize nominator, announced he nominated Stacy Abrams for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian lawmaker explained that “Abrams’ work follows in Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s in the fight for equality before the law and for civil rights.” Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and Haltbrekken believes Abrams’ actions to further civil rights in the United States are “crucial…to create fraternity between all its peoples.”
This nomination follows the 2020 election, in which Abrams played an active role, boosting voter turnout throughout the country. Abrams started a voting rights organization called Fair Fight, an expansion of the New Georgia Project that focused on voter registration. During the 2020 election, Fair Fight focused on increasing voter turnout and educating Americans on elections and voting rights. NPR reported that Abrams’ Fair Fight organization registered over 800,000 new voters in Georgia. Abrams’ explained in her NPR interview that “forty-nine percent [of the new voters] are people of color.” Abrams’ work in “[promoting] nonviolent change via the ballot box” is what secured her the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
Kushner and Berkowitz
Jared Kushner and his deputy Avi Berkowitz were nominated by Alan Dershowitz for their work on the Abraham Accords. Dershowitz, the Harvard Law professor, was among those who defended Trump at his first impeachment trial and continued to advocate for the dismissal of the article of impeachment that was introduced following the January 6th insurrection at the capitol. Dershowitz explains that the nomination of Kushner and Berkowitz was influenced by the “daunting criteria set out by Alfred Nobel in his will.” The ‘Abraham Accords’ urges “tolerance and respect for every person…no matter their race, faith, or ethnicity.” The deals negotiated peace between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Morocco, and Bahrain.
Black Lives Matter
The Black Lives Matter Movement was nominated by Petter Eide for, he explains, “their struggle against racism and racially motivated violence.” The group was formed in 2012 following the growing hashtag sparked by the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. The group has continued to advocate for racial equality within law enforcement and across America. In 2020, the group gained extreme media recognition following the killing of George Floyd, as protests took place across the globe. Eide, a Norweigian parliament member, explains his nomination continues the “connection between racial justice and peace.”
Russian dissenter Alexei Navalny was nominated for the prize by former minister Ola Elvestuen. Currently incarcerated, Navalny led the opposition against the corruption within the Russian government. His efforts led to rallies across the nation displaying the increased dissatisfaction with the Russian government. Navalny left Russia in August in a coma following his poisoning that he blames the Kremlin for. On his return to Moscow, Navalny was detained and jailed. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in his favor. Elvestuen explains Navalny was nominated for his “efforts for a peaceful democratization of Russia.”
Announced in September of 2020, Putin’s nomination was submitted by a group of Russian writers. Putin’s nomination followed the poisoning of one of his biggest dissenters, Navalny, who was poisoned with “Soviet-era nerve agent.” The nomination was led by Sergey Komkov, who said, “if this decision is made (to award Putin the Nobel Peace Prize) great, if not, it’s no problem as well.” Other than this vague quote, no further information has been announced since the nomination in late-September.
Greta Thunberg was nominated again for the third time for her international climate change influence, by three Norwegian and two Swedish Lawmakers. If she wins, Thunberg, 18, would be among the youngest winners of the Nobel Prize in its history. At 15, Thunberg began her protests outside of the Swedish Parliament. Her actions grew into an international climate movement. Coordinated strikes called Fridays for Future involved students marching in protest of the lack of climate action being taken by the governments. Asle Sveen, an expert on the Nobel Prize accolade, explained to Reuters that “not a single person has done more to get the world to focus on climate change than her.”
The Nobel Prize committee will continue to go through the 10-month-long process to announce who will be the next winners of the Nobel Peace Prize medal, diploma, and $1 million in December.
Through Teen Lenses: Do you pay attention to the Nobel Prize nominations and winners? Do you think it should be recognized more by the media? Why?
“No, I don’t pay attention, mainly because I don’t see it promoted often in the media. Obviously it deserves more recognition, as we, as a society, should be appreciating these things. I think it’s natural for America to be drawn toward entertainment and other simpler things in the news. While I would like to see more media coverage on his honor, I don’t think we ever will.” Molly Wilcoxson, 16, Lexington, Kentucky “I don’t really pay attention other than when having to learn about the Nobel Prizes in school. However, I do think the awards are important because they recognize things like knowledge rather than what we typically have recognized in media like athletic ability and celebrity status.” Philip Maxson, 16, Morehead, Kentucky “I do not pay attention to the Nobel Prizes, but I think it should be recognized more. The winners are dedicated to education and making peace, and, I think, that makes people think they’re boring. I think it’s super interesting how people become so dedicated to a certain topic/movement that they win a Nobel Prize, and I think they should receive more recognition from the general public in the same way that grammy or oscar winners do.” Caroline West, 16, Lexington, Kentucky