The winner of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Oct. 7 in Oslo. Since 1901, this honor has been awarded 102 times to 137 Nobel Prize laureates, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Jimmy Carter. Here's everything you need to know:
What is the Nobel Peace Prize?
In his will, the Swedish inventor, scientist, and philanthropist Alfred Nobel dictated that most of his wealth be used to establish "prizes to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind." One of those prizes needed to 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." Nobel died in 1896, and when his will was made public, his family opposed the establishment of the Nobel Prize. Because of this, the first prizes weren't awarded until 1901.
How does a person get nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize?
The Nobel Foundation says that for a nomination to be valid, the nominator must fall within a certain category — one example is being a member of a national assembly or government of a sovereign state, or a current head of state. You cannot nominate yourself.
How are the Nobel Peace Prize laureates chosen?
The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee chooses the Nobel Peace Prize candidates and laureates. Nominations are due by Jan. 31, and over the next two months, the committee reviews the submissions and puts together a short list of candidates. From March to August, there is an adviser review of the candidates, and the Nobel Peace Prize laureates are then chosen at the beginning of October through a majority vote. "The decision is final and without appeal," the Nobel Foundation says. This year's award ceremony will take place Dec. 10 in Oslo.
Who is nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize?
We don't know — the names and other information about nominees (including their nominators) can't be revealed for 50 years. The Nobel Foundation did share that for 2022, there are 343 candidates: 251 individuals and 92 organizations. This is the second-highest number of candidates ever, with the record of 376 candidates set in 2016.
Are there any predictions for the winner of this year's prize?
Since the nominees are a closely held secret, there is a lot of speculation until the winner is announced. Looking at the major issues of 2022, this year's award could go to an environmentalist or someone involved in the fight against climate change, such as David Attenborough or Greta Thunberg. An opposition politician or pro-democracy activist, like Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya of Belarus or Alexei Navalny of Russia, could also be the next laureate.
Every year, the director of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo puts together their own personal shortlist for the Peace Prize, and both Tsikhanouskaya and Navalny made Henrik Urdal's 2022 list. Tsikhanouskaya is a leader of the non-violent movement against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Urdal writes, calling for fair elections and an end to state-sanctioned brutality against protesters. "Both for her concrete role in campaigning for democracy and as a figurehead of the pro-democracy movement in Belarus, Tsikhanouskaya would be a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize," Urdal said.
In March, dozens of European lawmakers appealed to the Nobel Foundation, asking for the Peace Prize deadline to be extended so Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian people could be nominated. In their letter, the politicians from Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, and the Netherlands said they "are aware that this is a break with procedure, [but] we do believe it is justified by the current unprecedented situation."
There was some pushback on Twitter from users who said that even though Ukraine was invaded by Russia, a wartime leader should not receive a prize celebrating peace. Norwegian Nobel Committee director Olav Njølstad told The Independent that "generally speaking, it is not possible for the committee to extend the [Jan. 31] deadline for making nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize," but did note that committee members had the ability to make their own nominations before their first formal meeting on Feb. 28. The Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24.
Is a Nobel Peace Prize given out every year?
Not always. During World War II, no prize was awarded from 1939 to 1943; in 1944, it was given to Comité international de la Croix-Rouge (International Committee of the Red Cross) for "the great work it has performed during the war on behalf of humanity." Similarly, no awards were given out in 1914, 1915, 1916, and 1918 during World War I.
Who are some recent laureates?
In 2021, the Nobel Peace Prize went to two journalists: Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia "for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace." Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai received the prize in 2014 "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education," while five years earlier, former President Barack Obama was honored "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Earlier winners include Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1954, Mother Teresa in 1979, Elie Wiesel in 1986, and Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994.