Nobel Peace Prize facts you should know

Nobel Peace Prize facts you should know

My daughter is very excited about Malala and she's really, really hoping for Malala to win the Nobel Peace Prize, which will be presented on October 11, 2013. (It seems tweens never singularly hope for anything.) Malala is the youngest-ever nominee.

Pleased that she was showing an interest, I asked my tween what she knew about the Nobel Peace Prize and she responded, "Pretty much nothing." So, we set out to change that. Fortunately, NobelPrize.org is a great website and includes a Facts about the Nobel Peace Prize page. Here's the good info we found there:

* How many times has the Nobel Peace Prize been given? This will be the 94th time the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded since 1901. The Peace Prize is one of five Nobel prizes awarded since that time.

* What is the criteria for the award? When Alfred Nobel, a very rich man who invented dynamite, died, his will established the Nobel Prize. He said in his will that the Peace Prize should be given to whoever "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".

* How many people were nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize? The Norwegian Nobel Committee received 259 valid nominations of individuals and organizations. One of those was Malala. You may not nominate yourself.

* Who are considered the primary contenders for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize? The Washington Post published a list of likely winners for the 2013 prize here. Malala is considered a front runner. Other possible winners are Denis Mukwege, a doctor from the Congo, Hu Jia, a Chinese human rights activist, and former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson.

* Who decides the winner? The Norwegian Nobel Committee which is made up of five members appointed by the Norwegian Parliamant. This is also why the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo when the other Nobel Prizes are awarded in Sweden. Norway did not become independent from Sweden until 1905.

* Does the prize go to just one person? No. It can be shared by different individuals in one year (including by 3 women in 2011) or awarded to an organization. Twenty-four committees or groups have won the prize, including the European Union last year, 2012.

* Why are winners called laureates? The website explains, "The word 'Laureate' refers to being signified by the laurel wreath. In Greek mythology, the god Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head. A laurel wreath is a circular crown made of branches and leaves of the bay laurel. In Ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were awarded to victors as a sign of honour - both in athletic competitions and in poetic meets."

* How many times have women won the award? Women have won the Nobel Peace Prize 15 times. (My tween is really hoping that Malala bumps that number to 16.)

* The average age of Peace Prize laureates is 62 years old. (Again, my tween is hoping Malala changes that number). If Malala wins, she will be the youngest.

* The youngest laureate through 2012 was Tawakkol Karman. She won the 2011 Peace Prize at 32 years old for her "non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."

* What do winners get? Prize money worth 8 million Swedish kronor, a personal diploma and a medal. The money comes from the estate of Alfred Nobel, who died in 1897. His will stated that the money he left was to be invested and income from those investments was to be "distributed annually in the form of prizes to those who during the preceding year have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind." The Nobel Peace Prize medal is slightly different from that awarded in other areas. "The Nobel Peace Prize Medal was designed by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland and shows Alfred Nobel in a pose slightly different from that of the other medals."

* Can you only be nominated once? Nope!  Chicago's Jane Addams has the distinction of being nominated the most times - 91 times between 191nobelpeaceprize6 and 1931, when she finally won.

* Can you win more than once? Yes. The International Committee of the Red Cross has won three times, and that's most wins.

* Who has won in past years? The list of past winners is here. (My tween said Martin Luther King, Jr. is her favorite recipient, followed closely by Mother Teresa.)

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