Fast Company

Obama, the Future-Friendly President, Wins Nobel Peace Prize

This morning the World had a bit of a surprise: The Nobel Prize Committee announced its choice for the Peace Prize as President Barack Obama (the subject of Fast Company's April 2008 cover story, "The Brand Called Obama"). Few people had suspected this would happen, and only a few rumors swirled beforehand.

Obama's only been in office for nine months, which is partly why this is such a shock. With some slips in his public approval numbers, what can he possibly have done to justify the award? According to the Prize committee it's for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Check out Reuter's video of the announcement:

To allay suspicions that Obama landed the prize for what he may do in the future, versus what he's already done, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjorn Jagland, spoke to the press and said the committee hoped the prize would "enhance what he is trying to do" but that it was definitely awarded for what Obama's already achieved.

Those list of achievements include efforts to reinvigorate the Israeli-Palestine peace talks, talks at the UN Security Council to boost nuclear disarmament, and an openly-broadcast opinion that the future of the World should be nuclear weapon-free. He's also credited by the Nobel Committee with creating a "new climate in international politics."

Lofty stuff for fresh-in-office President, and one that had already promised a science-friendly and future-focused time in office. But it's also a move with attached controversy: American forces are still in action in Afghanistan and Iraq, the President recently cancelled Europe's planned Star Wars defense system, and there're difficult diplomatic wobblings being caused by Iran's missile tests and nuclear aspirations. Worse, the liberal world scratched its head recently when Obama himself apparently shunned a meeting with former Peace Prize recipient the Dalai Lama to appease China.

While the Internet's exploded with the news, and commentaries and debates are popping up online and in social nets like Twitter, so far the White House hasn't commented. But one thing's pretty clear: If Obama doesn't promise to donate the upcoming $1.4 million prize to charity pretty damn fast, it'll definitely hurt his public image.

[via The New York Times]

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18 Comments

  • zaw naing

    Hi all
    I'm Nobel from myanmar.My name became Nobel becacuse i was born at 10.Dec.1991. I am very happy to hear that Obama got the nobel prize. I also think he is worthy to get that prize. I like his plans for making the world a better place. And i am waiting for the changes he will made. May all country be in peace.

  • zaw naing

    I also love to see the news of the 2009 NOBEL Peace Award.It is truly arrive to the Mr,Barrack Obama.
    I,m from Union of Myanmar(Burma for UK)I did not understand on Mr.Obama before he working hard for Universal Health Plan and Understanding Myanmar Affairs and MidEast and his peaceful&positive thinking,understanding to latest saturation.
    In my opinion...the world toward modern socialism or how to express???
    Human or animals will happy without fears,enough food and essentials requirments..etc.
    truly...Mr.Zaw Myo Naing (I also believe that Myanmar Military Leader and people,Nobel peace price winner.Daw Aung San Su Kyi and rest of the world will be understanding eachothers and we will support to the world GREEN..

  • Daryle Hier

    People are surprised he won but they shouldn't be. Nobel is strictly a tool of socialist throughout the world. Appeasement seems their goal but appease tyrants? That is a sad but deadly joke.

    Everyone asks what has Obama done to deserve the award? Obviously nothing but thats not why the award is given - at least this time. Note its what "he is trying to do". This is typical is the world of liberal thought; its what you feel, not what you actually do or has been done". Nobel prize to Obama is not dealing in facts, logic or common sense. This is about what "should" happen, not what will happen.

    Obama is just a few years from his days of social community work and yet the meteoric rise. Why? Why indeed.

  • madclark

    Besides, wishful thinking and agrandizing, what has Pres. Obama accomplished? he is excellent at posturing, but what has he done?

  • madclark

    Besides, wishful thinking and agrandizing, what has Pres. Obama accomplished? he is excellent at posturing, but what has he done?

  • Gerry Wright

    The same award they gave to Al Bore... er Gore. Gore didn't do anything so why should Obama. What a farce!

  • Gerry Wright

    The same award they gave to Al Bore... er Gore. Gore didn't do anything so why should Obama. What a farce!

  • Gerry Wright

    The same award they gave to Al Bore... er Gore. Gore didn't do anything so why should Obama. What a farce!

  • Charles Bowen

    It is beyond reason that the Nobel Committee would award the Nobel Peace Prize to an untried and untested President who has done nothing, as of yet, to merit this honor. I understand that his nomination was introduced less than three weeks after entering office.
    Unfortunately all the Nobel Committee has done is lower the significance of this award to the level of an acknowledgement or thank you from a local service club. What a shame.

    Chuck

  • Peter Sharma III

    Mr Obama received this for being "not GW Bush." Hopefully the man will soon show he has the walnuts to lead rather than simply being something other than the abysmal failure of the past decade. His first act in that direction would be to sack his Goldman Sachs cabinet and repopulate it with actual progressive futurists.

  • Peter Sharma III

    Mr Obama received this for being "not GW Bush." Hopefully the man will soon show he has the walnuts to lead rather than simply being something other than he abysmal failure of the past decade. His first act in that direction would be to sack his Goldman Sachs cabinet and repopulate it with actual progressive futurists.

  • Peter Sharma III

    Mr Obama received this for being "not GW Bush." Hoefully the man will soon show he has the walnuts to lead rather than simply being something other than he abysmal failure of the past decade. His first act in that direction would be to sack his Goldman Sachs cabinet and repopulate it with actual progressive futurists.

  • Tony Long

    I commend Mr. Satchu for his comments, they are spot-on. Whether Mr. Obama is worthy and deserving are two different issues that I'm afraid will be obfuscated by the barrage of commentary.

    Anthony Long
    Twitter TonyCultEx
    www.culturalexception.com

  • Troy Scheer

    This is the biggest showing of political garbage I've ever seen. Foreign leaders see Obama as weak. If that is the qualification needed to win a sham award, no thanks. An award for arrogance, that would be more appropriate. If any American president should have been honored with a Nobel Peace award, it's Ronald Reagan. The Nobel Awards are becoming about as legitimate as the U.N.

  • Aly-Khan Satchu

    The President changed the Discourse. He introduced a New Language. He struck preemptively in favour of a more Multi Polar World and he was ahead of the Curve in this regard. He outflanked the Europeans on the IMF Voting rights and the G7 into G20. In that regard, he has always run ahead of the Curve. He deserves the Prize on that basis alone.

    The Political Conundrum is this. How High and how close to the Sun do you really want to fly so early in the Presidency? Coming down to Earth is not so easy.

    Aly-Khan Satchu
    www.rich.co.ke
    Twitter alykhansatchu

  • madclark

    Besides, wishful thinking and agrandizing, what has Pres. Obama accomplished? he is excellent at posturing, but what has he done?

  • Gerry Wright

    The same award they gave to Al Bore... er Gore. Gore didn't do anything so why should Obama. What a farce!

  • Gerry Wright

    The same award they gave to Al Bore... er Gore. Gore didn't do anything so why should Obama. What a farce!