This Friday, the fifth Nobel Prize of the week has been awarded — the one for peace. The Nobel committee selected the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) as the recipient, in honor of its efforts to combat hunger and help plant the seeds of peace in conflict areas around the world.
While many powerful and high-profile people were proposed for this year’s Peace prize, the Nobel Institute in Oslo felt that the WFP deserved it the most. Berit Reiss-Andersen, chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel committee explained that they hope this award will “turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger”, adding that hunger has and still is used as a “weapon of war and conflict”.
Food for peace
“It’s a very important UN organization. The UN plays a key role in upholding human rights,” she said. “Food is one of our most basic needs.”
The committee listed the WFP’s “efforts for combating hunger” and “contribution to creating peace in conflict-affected areas” as some of the criteria that informed their decision. Through its activity, the WFP imposed itself “as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”. All of this helped it stand out from this years’ list of candidates, which included 211 individuals and 107 organizations.
Other notable candidates this year included Greta Thunberg, for her efforts advocating on behalf of environmental issues, Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader who is currently recovering from a nerve agent attack likely orchestrated by the Russian government, and the World Health Organization for its role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The committee also praised the program’s “universalism” and its global scope, which contrasts with the increasing populist and nationalistic rhetorics we’re seeing in countries around the globe.
This is the last of five Nobel prizes to be awarded this year. The committee awarded the one for physiology and medicine on Monday to the discoverers of the hepatitis C virus. On Tuesday, they recognized the importance of breakthrough work in the nature of black holes with the Prize for physics, making way on Wednesday for the Prize in chemistry for the development of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool. American poet Louise Glück won the Prize for literature on Thursday.