Gorbachev, Mikhail (Sergeyevich)

Gorbachev, Mikhail (Sergeyevich)

Mikhail Gorbachev, 1985.

(born March 2, 1931, Privolye, Stavropol region, Russia, U.S.S.R.) Soviet official and last president of the Soviet Union (1990–91). After earning a law degree from Moscow State University (1955), he rose through the ranks to become a full Politburo member (1980) and general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1985–91). His extraordinary reform policies of glasnost and perestroika were resisted by party bureaucrats; to reduce their power, Gorbachev changed the Soviet constitution in 1988 to allow multicandidate elections and removed the monopoly power of the party in 1990. He cultivated warmer relations with the U.S., and in 1989–90 he supported the democratically elected governments that replaced the communist regimes of eastern Europe. In 1990 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Russia's economic and political problems led to a 1991 coup attempt by hard-liners. In alliance with president Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev quit the Communist Party, disbanded its Central Committee, and shifted political powers to the Soviet Union's constituent republics. Events outpaced him, and the various republics formed the Commonwealth of Independent States under Yeltsin's leadership. On Dec. 25, 1991, Gorbachev resigned the presidency of the Soviet Union, which ceased to exist that same day.

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The Nobel Peace Prize (Swedish, Danish and Nobels fredspris) is one of five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel. According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who 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.

Alfred Nobel's will stated that the prize should be awarded by a committee of five people elected by the Norwegian Parliament. The Peace Prize is presented annually in Oslo, Norway, in the presence of the king, on December 10 (the anniversary of Nobel's death), and is the only Nobel Prize not presented in Stockholm, Sweden. "In Oslo, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of the King of Norway. Under the eyes of a watching world, the Nobel Laureate receives three things: a diploma, a medal and a document confirming the prize amount." The Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony is held at the Oslo City Hall, followed the next day by the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, which is broadcast to more than 450 million households in over 150 countries around the world. The concert has received worldwide fame and the participation of top celebrity hosts and performers. The selection of Nobel Peace Prize winners sometimes causes controversy, as the list of winners includes people who formerly used violent methods of problem-solving, but then later made exceptional concessions to non-violence in the attempt to achieve peace.

Appointment process

Nobel died in 1896 and did not leave an explanation for choosing peace as a prize category. The categories for chemistry and physics were obvious choices as he was a trained chemical engineer. The reason behind the peace prize is less clear. Some have said it was Nobel's way to compensate for developing destructive forces (Nobel's inventions included dynamite and ballistite). None of his explosives, except for ballistite, were used in any war during his lifetime, although the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an Irish nationalist organisation, did carry out dynamite attacks in the 1880s and he was instrumental in turning Bofors from a iron company to a armaments company whilst he owned it.

The Norwegian Parliament appoints the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which selects the Laureate for the Peace Prize. The Committee chairman, currently Dr. Ole Danbolt Mjøs, awards the Prize itself. At the time of Alfred Nobel's death Sweden and Norway were in a personal union in which the Swedish government was solely responsible for foreign policy, and the Norwegian Parliament was responsible only for Norwegian domestic policy. Alfred Nobel never explained why he wanted a Norwegian rather than Swedish body to award the Peace Prize. As a consequence, many people have speculated about Nobel's intentions. For instance, Nobel may have wanted to prevent the manipulation of the selection process by foreign powers, and as Norway did not have any foreign policy, the Norwegian government could not be influenced.

Nominations

Nominations for the Prize may be made by a broad array of qualified individuals, including former recipients, members of national assemblies and congresses, university professors (in certain disciplines), international judges, and special advisors to the Prize Committee. In some years as many as 199 nominations have been received. The Committee keeps the nominations secret and asks that nominators do the same. Over time many individuals have become known as "Nobel Peace Prize Nominees", but this designation has no official standing. Nominations from 1901 to 1955, however, have been released in a database. When the past nominations were released it was discovered that Adolf Hitler was nominated in 1939 by Erik Brandt, a member of the Swedish Parliament. Brandt retracted the nomination after a few days. Other infamous nominees included Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini. However, since nomination requires only support from one qualified person (e.g., a history professor), these unusual nominations do not represent the opinions of the Nobel committee itself.

Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which recognize completed scientific or literary accomplishment, the Nobel Peace Prize may be awarded to persons or organizations that are in the process of resolving a conflict or creating peace. As some such processes have failed to create lasting peace, some Peace Prizes appear questionable in hindsight. For example, the awards given to Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Martin Luther King Jr., Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat, Lê Ðức Thọ, and Henry Kissinger were particularly controversial and criticized; the Kissinger-Thọ award prompted two dissenting Committee members to resign.

In 2005, the Nobel Peace Center opened. It serves to present the Laureates, their work for peace, and the ongoing problems of war and conflict around the world.

Controversy

The Nobel Peace Prize has sparked controversy throughout its history. The Norwegian Parliament appoints the Peace Prize Committee, has no say in the award issue. Critics argue that the same Parliament has pursued partisan military aims. A member of the Committee cannot at the same time be a member of the Parliament, and the Committee includes former members from all major parties, including those parties that oppose NATO membership.

Unlike the scientific and literary Nobel Prizes, usually issued in retrospect, often two or three decades after the awarded achievement, the Peace Prize has been awarded for more recent or immediate achievements taking the form of summary judgment being issued in the same year as or the year immediately following the political act. Some commentators have suggested that to award a peace prize on the basis of unquantifiable contemporary opinion is unjust or possibly erroneous, especially as many of the judges cannot themselves be said to be impartial observers. In pro-democracy struggles, it may be said that the 'real' peace-makers may not be recognized for their long-term or subtle approaches. However, others have pointed to the uniqueness of the Peace Prize in that its high profile can often focus world attention on particular problems and possibly aid in the peace-efforts themselves.

On closer inspection, the peace-laureates often have a lifetime's history of working at and promoting humanitarian issues, as in the examples of German medic Albert Schweitzer (1952 laureate), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an African-American civil rights activist (1964 laureate); Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic missionary nun (1979 laureate); and Aung San Suu Kyi, a Buddhist nonviolent pro-democracy activist (1991 laureate). Still others are selected for tireless efforts, as in the examples of Jimmy Carter and Mohamed ElBaradei. Others, even today, are quite controversial, due to the recipient's political activity, as in the case of Henry Kissinger (1973 laureate), Tenzin Gyatso (1989), Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat (1978 laureates), or Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat (1994 laureates).

A widely discussed criticism of the peace-prize are the notable omissions, namely the failure to award individuals with widely recognized contributions to peace. The list includes Mahatma Gandhi, Corazon Aquino, Pope John XXIII, Pope John Paul II, Steve Biko, Raphael Lemkin, Abdul Sattar Edhi, César Chávez, Jose Figueres Ferrer, Irena Sendler, and Oscar Romero. In particular, the omission of the Indian leader Gandhi has been widely discussed, including public statements by the various members of Nobel Committee. It has been acknowledged by the committee that Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before he was murdered in January 1948. The omission has been publicly regretted by later members of the Nobel Committee. In 1948, the year of Gandhi's death, the Nobel Committee declined to award a prize on the ground that "there was no suitable living candidate" that year. Later, when the Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi. In most cases, the omissions resulted in part from the provision in Alfred Nobel's will that only living people could receive the prize.

Research by anthropologist David Stoll into Rigoberta Menchú, the 1992 recipient, revealed some fabrications in her biography, "Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació la conciencia" (My Name is Rigoberta Menchú and this is how my Conscience was Born), translated into English as "I, Rigoberta Menchú". Menchú later admitted changing some details about her background. After the initial controversy, the Nobel Committee dismissed calls to revoke her Nobel prize because of the reported falsifications. Professor Geir Lundestad, the secretary of the Committee, said her prize "was not based exclusively or primarily on the autobiography".. According to the Nobel Committee, "Stoll approves of her Nobel prize and has no question about the picture of army atrocities which she presents. He says that her purpose in telling her story the way she did 'enabled her to focus international condemnation on an institution that deserved it, the Guatemalan army."

List of Laureates

Year Laureate(s) Country Work for which cited (Citations)
1901* Frédéric Passy Founder and President, Société d'arbitrage entre les Nations
1901* Henry Dunant Founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva
1902 Élie Ducommun
Charles Albert Gobat
Honorary secretaries, Permanent International Peace Bureau in Berne
1903 William Randal Cremer Secretary, International Arbitration League
1904 Institut de Droit International
1905 Bertha Sophie Felicitas Baronin von Suttner Honorary President, Permanent International Peace Bureau
1906 Theodore Roosevelt President of the United States; peace treaty collaborations (brokering the Treaty of Portsmouth ending the Russo-Japanese War)
1907* Ernesto Teodoro Moneta President, Lombard League of Peace
1907* Louis Renault Professor of International Law
1908* Klas Pontus Arnoldson Founder, Swedish Peace and Arbitration Association
1908* Fredrik Bajer Honorary President, Permanent International Peace Bureau
1909* Auguste Marie François Beernaert Member of the Cour Internationale d'Arbitrage.
1909* Paul-Henri-Benjamin d'Estournelles de Constant Founder and president of the French parliamentary group for international arbitration. Founder of the Comité de défense des intérets nationaux et de conciliation internationale
1910 International Peace Bureau Berne
1911* Tobias Michael Carel Asser Initiator of the International Conferences of Private Law in The Hague
1911* Alfred Hermann Fried Founder of Die Waffen Nieder
1912 Elihu Root For initiating various arbitration agreements
1913 Henri La Fontaine President of the Permanent International Peace Bureau
1914 [Not awarded]
1915 [Not awarded]
1916 [Not awarded]
1917 International Committee of the Red Cross
1918 [Not awarded]
1919 Woodrow Wilson President of the United States, as foremost promoter of the League of Nations
1920 Léon Victor Auguste Bourgeois President of the Council of the League of Nations
1921* Hjalmar Branting Prime minister, Swedish delegate to the Council of the League of Nations
1921* Christian Lous Lange Secretary-general of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
1922 Fridtjof Nansen Norwegian delegate to the League of Nations, originator of the Nansen passports for refugees
1923 [Not awarded]
1924 [Not awarded]
1925* Austen Chamberlain For the Locarno Treaties
1925* Charles Gates Dawes Chairman of the Allied Reparations Commission and originator of the Dawes Plan
1926* Aristide Briand For the Locarno Treaties
1926* Gustav Stresemann For the Locarno Treaties
1927* Ferdinand Buisson Founder and president of the League for Human Rights
1927* Ludwig Quidde Delegate to numerous peace conferences
1928 [Not awarded]
1929 Frank B. Kellogg For the Kellogg-Briand Pact
1930 Nathan Söderblom Leader of the ecumenical movement
1931* Jane Addams International president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
1931* Nicholas Murray Butler For promoting the Kellogg-Briand Pact
1932 [Not awarded]
1933 Sir Norman Angell Writer, member of the Executive Committee of the League of Nations and the National Peace Council
1934 Arthur Henderson Chairman of the League of Nations Disarmament Conference
1935 Carl von Ossietzky Pacifist journalist.
1936 Carlos Saavedra Lamas President of the League of Nations and mediator in the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia
1937 Robert Cecil Founder and president of the International Peace Campaign
1938 Nansen International Office For Refugees
1939 [Not awarded]
1940 [Not awarded]
1941 [Not awarded]
1942 [Not awarded]
1943 [Not awarded]
1944 International Committee of the Red Cross Awarded retroactively in 1945
1945 Cordell Hull For co-initiating the United Nations
1946* Emily Greene Balch Honorary international president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
1946* John R. Mott Chairman of the International Missionary Council and president of the World Alliance of Young Men's Christian Associations
1947 Friends Service Council
American Friends Service Committee

On behalf of the Religious Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers
1948 [Not awarded] May have been awarded to Mohandas Gandhi had he not been assassinated.
1949 Lord Boyd-Orr Director general Food and Agricultural Organization, president National Peace Council, president World Union of Peace Organizations
1950 Ralph Bunche for mediating in Palestine (1948)
1951 Léon Jouhaux President of the International Committee of the European Council, vice president of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, vice president of the World Federation of Trade Unions, member of the ILO Council, delegate to the UN
1952 Albert Schweitzer For his philosophy of "Reverence for Life", expressed in many ways, but most famously in founding the Lambaréné Hospital in Gabon
1953 George Catlett Marshall For the Marshall Plan
1954 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
1955 [Not awarded]
1956 [Not awarded]
1957 Lester Bowles Pearson President of the 7th session of the United Nations General Assembly for introducing peacekeeping forces to resolve the Suez Crisis
1958 Georges Pire Leader of L'Europe du Coeur au Service du Monde, a relief organization for refugees.
1959 Philip Noel-Baker "for his lifelong ardent work for international peace and co-operation."
1960 Albert Lutuli President, African National Congress
1961 Dag Hammarskjöld Secretary-General, United Nations (posthumous)
1962 Linus Carl Pauling "for his campaign against nuclear weapons testing."
1963 International Committee of the Red Cross
League of Red Cross societies
1964 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, campaigner for civil rights
1965 United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
1966 [Not awarded]
1967 [Not awarded]
1968 René Cassin President, European Court of Human Rights
1969 International Labour Organization
1970 Norman Borlaug "for research at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center."
1971 Willy Brandt "for West Germany's Ostpolitik, embodying a new attitude towards Eastern Europe and East Germany."
1972 [Not awarded]
1973 Henry A. Kissinger
Lê Ðức Thọ (declined the honors)

The Vietnam peace accord
1974 Seán MacBride
Eisaku Sato

President of the International Peace Bureau the Commission of Namibia of the United Nations
1975 Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov Campaigns for human rights
1976 Betty Williams
Mairead Corrigan
Founders of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement (later renamed Community of Peace People)
1977 Amnesty International Campaign against torture
1978 Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat
(محمد أنور السادات)
Menachem Begin (מנחם בגין)

For negotiating peace between Egypt and Israel
1979 Mother Teresa Poverty awareness campaigner and her service to humanity
1980 Adolfo Pérez Esquivel Human rights advocate
1981 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
1982 Alva Myrdal
Alfonso García Robles

Treaty of Tlatelolco
1983 Lech Wałęsa Founder of Solidarność; campaigner for human rights
1984 Desmond Mpilo Tutu Anti-apartheid
1985 International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War "for spreading authoritative information and by creating an awareness of the catastrophic consequences of atomic warfare."
1986 Elie Wiesel author, Holocaust survivor "for his message of peace.
1987 Óscar Arias Sánchez "for initiating peace negotiations in Central America."
1988 United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces For participation in numerous conflicts since 1956. At the time of the award, 736 people from a variety of nations had lost their lives in peacekeeping efforts.
1989 Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama "for his consistent resistance to the use of violence in his people's struggle to regain their freedom.
1990 Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev
(Михаи́л Серге́евич Горбачёв)
"for his leading role in the peace process which today characterizes important parts of the international community."
1991 Aung San Suu Kyi (အောင္‌ဆန္‌းစုက္ရည or ) "for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights."
1992 Rigoberta Menchú "in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples."
1993 Nelson Mandela
Frederik Willem de Klerk
"for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa."
1994 Yasser Arafat (ياسر عرفات)
Shimon Peres (שמעון פרס)
Yitzhak Rabin (יצחק רבין)


"for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East."
1995 Joseph Rotblat
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs


"for their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics and, in the longer run, to eliminate such arms."
1996 Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo
José Ramos-Horta
"for their work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor."
1997 International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Jody Williams
"for their work for the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines."
1998 John Hume
David Trimble
Ireland
United Kingdom
"for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland."
1999 Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) "in recognition of the organization's pioneering humanitarian work on several continents."
2000 Kim Dae Jung
김대중 (金大中)
"for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular."
2001 United Nations
Kofi Annan

"for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."
2002 Jimmy Carter Former President of the United States, "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."
2003 Shirin Ebadi (شيرين عبادي) "for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children."
2004 Wangari Maathai "for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace."
2005 International Atomic Energy Agency
Mohamed ElBaradei
(محمد البرادعي)

"for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way."
2006 Muhammad Yunus (মুহাম্মদ ইউনুস)
Grameen Bank
"for advancing economic and social opportunities for the poor, especially women, through their pioneering microcredit work."
2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Al Gore

"for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."
2008 Martti Ahtisaari Former President of Finland, "for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts
* Years with multiple nominations for a Nobel Prize.

Notes

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