Do you agree that some of the Nobel Prize decisions are controversial? Which ones of them make you doubt the most?
The Nobel Peace Prize is the most controversial prize on earth (Susannah Locke, 2015). The most recent and likely the most controversial Nobel Peace Prize was given to President Barack Obama in 2009. This was in the first term of his presidency, so there were many people who disagreed on its validity, as well as the timing, because of his involvement in bombing activities parallel to the campaigns for the creation of drones since his acceptance of this prestigious award.
More controversial decisions; Chinese Liu Xiaobo human rights activist, literary critic, writer and professor, received the award in 2010. Xiaobo’s quest for political reforms brought the end of the communist single-party rule. He is currently incarcerated.
Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy Aung San Suu Kyi received her award in 1991, two years after she served fifteen of twenty years under house arrest. As one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners, the question remains, why was she awarded The Nobel Peace Prize?
British authors Robert Graves and Lawrence Durrell were in the running to win The Novel Peace Award in 1962, but lost to John Steinbeck. Since the fifty year secret which is governed by the archives in Sweden has passed, these archives show that Steinbeck was not their first choice (Allison Flood, 2013).
While the committee praised Steinbeck “for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humor and keen social perception,” ironically, the archived documents stated that his selection was the best from a bad group. This is controversy at its best.
- Susannah Locke (2015). How the Nobel Prize became the most controversial award on earth. vox.com.
- Alison Flood (2013). Swedish Academy reopens controversy surrounding Steinbeck’s
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