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We can’t give Peace Prize ‘based on polls,’ Nobel head Jagland tells Amanpour

October 16th, 2013
07:18 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

How, and why, does the Nobel Committee decide whom to award the Peace Prize?

It is a question that arises almost every year in early October.

Unlike the science Nobels, which award work on “Higgs Bosons” and “multiscale models for complex chemical systems,” the work that leads to a Peace Prize can be understood by the layman.

This year, the Nobel Committee bypassed Malala Yousafzai, the popular favorite to win, awarding instead the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

“We wanted to give a signal to the world that now we have the possibility to do away with a whole category of weapons of mass destruction,” Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

This year also marks the twenty-year anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which created the OPCW and calls on signatories to destroy their stockpiles.

“Eighty per cent of chemical weapons have been eliminated and more than ninety percent of production capacity,” Jagland said.

Few had heard of the OPCW before it was tasked with dismantling Syria’s chemical stockpile, but Jagland denied that the development had anything to do with his committee’s decision.

“Actually we decided this before what happened in Syria this summer,” he said. “We awarded this organization because of what the organization has done.”

“But of course,” he added, “it’s very important also now to give a kind of moral support to what it is going to do in Syria.”

So what of Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban last year for refusing to give up her fight for girls’ education?

“Malala is an outstanding, courageous woman. She will certainly be a candidate for future years,” Jagland told Amanpour. “We cannot award people or organizations based on polls – we have to look at the will of Alfred Nobel.”

The Committee, he added, only explains why it did give an award, not why it did not.

Amanpour protested Jagland’s characterization of why Yousafzai did not get the Prize.

“Well of course,” she said, “there weren’t polls; she actually took a bullet to the head for peace.”

“The committee has awarded such personalities so many times,” he retorted, referring by way of example to the winner in 2010, Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo.

“But we cannot do it every year,” he said. “We have to also look at the time of Alfred Nobel and the current situation in the world, and therefore we came to the conclusion that this year we should award OPCW.”

soundoff (63 Responses)
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  4. theytukrjobs

    The original purpose of the nobel peace prize has its roots in anti war weapons. Alfren Nobel I believe invented gun powder or dynamite or some kind of old school murder method. So bestowing this honor on an anti modern weapon group is fitting. That doesn't take away anything from what Amanpour has done.

    October 16, 2013 at 9:50 am | Reply
    • GGJ

      Nobel invented TNT thinking he would save minors' lives. TNT is very stable, and minors using gelignite blew themselves up regularly! However, he was aghast that it was being used for warfare. TNT is still used today, and is very much not old school! Amanpour has done nothing! I think you mean Malala.

      October 16, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • meifumado

      Your ignorance is showing.

      Google is your friend.

      October 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  5. Bob

    Funny, they gave Barack Obama the Peace Prize due to ratings, when his accomplishments were absolute ZERO! This girl should be applauded.

    October 16, 2013 at 10:39 am | Reply
    • JohnBob

      Absolutely! Further proof of the farce and irrelevance this joke prize and committee have become!

      October 17, 2013 at 3:54 am | Reply
  6. Michael Voight

    The girl has been applauded and has been recognized in other ways.
    A 20 year effort in trying to prevent chemical weapons is worthy of a Noble.

    October 16, 2013 at 11:14 am | Reply
    • TashaTchin

      One doesn't applaud an organization that has failed in its mission. Obviously, chemical weapons are springing up and killing people in Syria because Al Qaeda now has them. The Nobel "Peace Prize" is just a joke! It's all about politics, not about peace. Just look at the guy they gave the prize to who hadn't done anything to bring peace to the world (or even his own country, Barack Hussein Obama - the Droner-in-Chief - who, since receiving his "Peace Prize" has never passes up an opportunity to create more war and chaos in the world. The girl deserved the prize, not a bunch of losers!

      October 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Reply
      • jianqing Ma

        Malala is hero,with great courage,it's not about her religion or beliefs.She has already been recognized,it's not about Nobel Prize which can prove her.

        October 17, 2013 at 4:51 am |
    • reen b

      Exactly. This is not to downplay what Malala has accomplished, the OPCW has had more time to put multiple accomplishments under its belt. Malala's life and activism is just beginning; she will definitely have her day.

      October 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  7. GatorDude

    Unfortunately, a Nobel Peace Prize would probably make Malala even more of a target for the Taliban. But, if anyone was deserving and was a beacon of hope for education and peace, it would be Malala.

    October 16, 2013 at 11:16 am | Reply
    • AGARNI

      I am surprised that so many, even Christiane Amanpour, do not seem to understand what the Nobel Peace Prize really is. NPP is not a Human Rights Prize, a prize that Malala possibly would qualify for. There are both people and organizations that have worked for peace for decades that deserves the NPP much more than this brave young girl does. Christiane Amanpour`s poorly hidden meaning and evident fascination of Malala is not of interest to CNN`s public. It seems Amanpour has become to big for her job as a "common" reporter. It is about time she return to earth!

      October 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Reply
      • P. Benjamin

        Yes. I fully agree.

        October 16, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
  8. Farooq

    Whether iits nobel prize, oscar or anyother wards, they are all bised and many times they are served to hightlight the people who serve the vested interests. US portrayed Soviets as satins and now they have branded others as evil. Its own policies are the biggest threat to peace..!

    October 16, 2013 at 11:27 am | Reply
  9. DVAE

    OBAMA WON ONE JUST ON HIS SKIN COLOUR

    October 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  10. Larry Abramson

    Why didn't Malala get the prize? Because everyone is afraid of upsetting the Muslims. And that's exactly why many of them act as they do.

    October 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  11. newsguy15

    I admire Malala for her courage and she is committed in her efforts for education to Children in Pak but I agree with the decision of the committee. There are so many organizations that have spent their lifetime on these efforts but have not been in the news and so people don't know about them... Good luck Malala for future efforts!

    October 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  12. meifumado

    She did not get the award as she does not deserve it.

    She still embraces the evil religion that promotes misogyny.

    October 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Reply
    • celeste

      you must follow an evil lifestyle to discriminate against religious beliefs. discrimination of any sort is anti-humanity.

      October 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  13. Bijayamalla

    Malala is west sponsored hero.

    October 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  14. Ankit

    Controversy is nothing new to the peace prize. I think decision makes sense as the OPCW has already done a considerable amount of work compared to Malala. Having said this, I really hope she wins it in the near future. She has extraordinary courage.

    October 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  15. MarieNicole

    You are right Larry A. everyone is afraid to "upset" the Muslims and you are right also Bob, they gave Barrack Obama
    the Nobel Peace Prize due to the ratings, but also because he is a Muslim, his father was a Muslim, No one can deny that. He became rich writting books of his dead beat father.Now he says his religion is not Islam, but that doesn.t change the fact that he is a Muslim.

    The whole world admire, respesct and love Malala. She does not need the Nobel Peace Prize to be recognized as a
    great Human being. She is an oustanding and loving young woman. May God bless her and keep her safe.
    We love you Malala

    October 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  16. f4xtrafn

    I think they should give the peace prize to the NSA and CIA for working so hard to protect us. They have done a lot more than the OPCW which no one has even heard of. To say they don't use polls is hogwash – their committee votes don't they??? That in itself is nothing more than a popularity contest. Jagland is a political animal and responds to pressure from high placed politicians. The peace prize should never go any sort of organization. The prizes should only be awarded to people.

    October 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  17. Hillman

    I have the guts to be a weapons inspector. I would do that job. They have armored cars and UN convoys and they are paid well for their trouble. I do not have the guts to be Malala

    October 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  18. AD

    Hey! Why didn't Obama receive another one of these? He totally deserved it (!). They should give Nobel peace prices to him every year for god's sake!.

    October 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  19. Ross

    Who cares? No muslim sgould ever get a peace price because being a member of an intolerant, hateful, violent and bigoted "religion" and peace are mutually exclusive.

    October 16, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Reply
    • Adlas

      wow speak for yourself you bigoted racist idiot.

      October 17, 2013 at 2:32 am | Reply
  20. jyves95

    This teenager is a beacon and represents hope. She has a lot of courage. Why do people want her to win the Nobel prize? Where are everybody when she and other need help to fight the Taliban?

    The Nobel committee can give their prizes based on Nobel's will, not on others will who praise her fight but don't give a d.. to her fight, and still, let her fight alone... We have now invented the concept of guilt money without spending a dime, praising her and trying to give her someone else's money... How insulting...

    October 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Reply
  21. Texan-for-sesibility

    OK OPCW definitely deserves the peace Prize.
    But then – Mr Noble Selection Committee – explain us please why the heck did Al Gore got same prize for making PowerPoint presentations (Instead of other nominee who help in saving Jews from Nazis during holocaust) and European Union (REALLY??? if you do not have credible nominees, just do not give prize one year, that is OK) and President Obama, before he has even done anything as President yet????
    Needless to go way back and ask – Why did Mahatma Gandhi never ever got it, while Jimy Carter, YAsr Arafat have received Noble prize.... Peace prize is no reflection on any real contribution!

    October 16, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  22. luke weyland

    In my opinion, Malala definitely deserves the peace prize – along with a milion or two others. But can anyone explain to me why war criminals such as Teddy Roosevelt, Kissinger and Obama got them?

    October 16, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  23. sara

    Nobel prize is controversial and it is in most cases not won by the most deserving people..after all Hitler was nominated for a Nobel prize...So what does this say about the hall process

    October 16, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  24. uqmaffle

    I would agree with the Committee's decision. You cant get the Nobel prize just for getting shot by the Taliban. That would make about 10000 people per year eligible.

    October 16, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  25. swej kcuf

    Hebrews in control. Simple as the Breese of the desert in the face of haShem and the desert lost tribes.

    October 16, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Reply
  26. maias

    “We didn't wanted to give a signal to the world that we have the possibility to do away with the practice of threatening mus|im girls with death for daring to want to be educated,” Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee, DIDN'T tell CNN

    October 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  27. billy vidal

    why malala has no award ,because the story is real not only invented... most of the nobel prize winner are fake,, and that is real

    October 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  28. P. Benjamin

    Malala is shameleslys used now by Clinton Foundadtion and Amanpour for their personel glory.She is still a child, but is so crassly manipulated by people around her that she is loosing all the goodwill and respect.

    October 16, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  29. KEadilan

    She is still too young for the Noble Prize.

    If she continues her work until 21, definitely she may get the prize

    October 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  30. Dhansoo

    what has she done?????????????????????????????

    October 16, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Reply
    • Sikander

      Are you dumb?

      October 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Reply
  31. Imtias

    Malala,, A very nice girl, whose father sold her for fame & fortune. She was a victim as she is a designer product. When Malala is being molded the designers were aware of the consequences. There were several Malalas in the making had she been done by Taliban. Fortunately or otherwise she survived and for her survival Europe played athe major role to hide the actual designer. Now Malala the robot talks , smiles and cries inside security net not second to any super power heads. The media created has created the stage and act. The lesser known are applauding . Now somebody explain why this robot deserves NOBEL .....? B...S...

    October 17, 2013 at 12:43 am | Reply
    • varma

      who told to give birth to many? and who told to sell her? it is the fault of ur community........

      October 17, 2013 at 1:19 am | Reply
      • Imtias

        Mr Indian, your comments are coming from your bottom part, How the F .. you know, to which community I belong? If you do not understand the context of my comment, keep your S..ing mouth shut.

        October 17, 2013 at 2:19 am |
  32. truth

    Respect the last decision and respect the rules that brought about the final decision.....

    October 17, 2013 at 12:48 am | Reply
  33. varma

    who is she? and wht did she do for the society? did she invent any new things for the future of human beings? or how helpful for humankind? Mr. Jagland did the right thing for not considering for precious Noble price........Good decision...

    October 17, 2013 at 1:17 am | Reply
  34. jonathan

    my name is jonathan im from tel aviv-israel and i love you all! europeans! americans! australia! canada! you are the best!!

    October 17, 2013 at 1:17 am | Reply
  35. Adlas

    So Obama got a Peace Prize why? If it's not based on polls?

    October 17, 2013 at 2:31 am | Reply
  36. Freddie Nerk

    She has had her two minutes of fame. Now go away and live off taxpayers. Or better, go back home and do something for your poor people rather than live in luxury in London. Airman pour is a joke. She knows exactly why the Nobel Prize was given to the organisation that has risked lives for many years in war zones. Let's see what this girl does in her life.

    October 17, 2013 at 2:39 am | Reply
  37. Shahzad Aslam

    Well yes she did something courageous and I think she has been award and recognized a lot by world. But she is not the only hero in town to get all attention and prizes. Remember service for humanity is not done for awards and recognition and people after those do not understand true sprite to serve the humanity. There are millions of hero's in human history who actually scarify their whole lives serving humanity and no awards for them but people remember them. I believe Malala did something courageous but now she is after recognition and status.

    October 17, 2013 at 5:03 am | Reply
  38. Shahzad Aslam

    She wants to be the prime minister of Pakistan. Come on malala, concentrate on getting education, then understand the real problems, find solutions for them and show it off to Pakistan what you can do. A idiot like me can also say "I will end all problems in Pakistan, including terrorism, education for all, energy crisis, unemployment bla bla bla" See I also have a mouth and can speak give me nobal prize for serving humanity for speaking .....

    October 17, 2013 at 5:16 am | Reply
    • D.Bose

      What have you done for the world when you were 13-14 years old except for eating Curry and Roti?
      You should be really ashamed.
      This 15 years old girl is the real example of the bravest child.
      We in India really hope that she will be the Prime Minister of Pakistan; then all problems between Pakistan and India will disappear.

      October 17, 2013 at 5:28 am | Reply
      • Shahzad Aslam

        Agree and don't agree. Agreed I was nothing when 14-15. and don't agree that a 16 years old can change the world with words. Excitement is the human nature and we all fall victim of this, In Malala case we are all following the excitement. World really appreciate the child and i think that is enough to make the child happy. When it comes to real world and real problems we need real brain, not just childish inspirations.

        October 18, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  39. D.Bose

    So many unknown people got Nebel peace prize: Two Women from Belfast but one of my friend Belfast does not even know who they are, one Iranian dissident, Several Jewish dissidents from USSR, some Chinese no one knows what they have done.
    Also some criminals: Kissinger

    Giving Nobel prize to organization like EU does not make any sense.

    Mind you some one totally unknown also got Nobel prize in literature, which a few years ago used to be reserved only for East European dissident writers equally unknown.

    Thus, ignore the Nobel Prize.

    October 17, 2013 at 5:22 am | Reply
    • SAJJAD MAHDI

      Basically what I understand it is a politically motivated award

      October 18, 2013 at 6:44 am | Reply
  40. Besa

    I thought that these prices are given to the initiative of an individual that impacts others, not to the insitutions, NGO, or organizations that are paid to do so heavely. Noble peace price for me has lost its importance it seems that these prices can be bought, it is up in the market for who payes more.

    October 17, 2013 at 5:39 am | Reply
  41. joy

    i don't know why the media focus on this girl. pakistan is a mother country of terrorist and all kinds of darkness.if you go to pakistan , you cant find any effective result for girl education after malala story! because most of the pakistani still hate malala. it is the same situation for all muslim country. on the otherhand , malala haven't any contribution for peacefulness in the entire world.if you see the video of Kenya shopping mall attack by al shabab , you can identify , how cruel the original muslims are?

    October 17, 2013 at 7:29 am | Reply
    • Shahzad Aslam

      original muslims don't like what is called terrorism. You don't know Pakistan, Pakistani's and Islam. just to mention some of the most aweful crimes done by NON-MUSLIMS in history (Hitler was not muslim I GUESS) we have criminals every where.

      October 18, 2013 at 9:48 am | Reply
  42. Ajai

    Christiane Amanpour, you are powerful but not to the point of being able to lobby someone to, the NPP

    October 17, 2013 at 10:04 am | Reply
  43. Mike

    Theer are not standards. They gave President Obama the peace prize after two weeks in office and he had not done anything of note prior to taking office. It is a crap shoot at best.

    October 17, 2013 at 10:06 am | Reply
  44. smbyrne

    This young woman is fighting for the right of education for girls everywhere. Unfortunately it is obvious that most of the posters here have not taken advantage of the opportunities already afforded them....

    October 17, 2013 at 11:35 am | Reply
  45. SAJJAD MAHDI

    Malala Malala is the creation of the Western media and politicians. Just tell me what has she so far done for the education of girls in Pakistan NOTHING. There are many more girls in Pakistan who go to school is even woese conditions than Malala went. Is it rumored that his father had worked as agent of some western country and for the work done they are rewarding him.. I CAN BET SHE WILL NEVER EVER COME BACK TO PAKISTAN. She will shortly be given a British nationality.

    October 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  46. Johngeo

    I doubt it really was already decided to give the nobel price to the opcw before the events in Syria.
    But regardless of that I prefer the price to be given to courageous individuals rather than organisations.

    Check out the website http://www.lawandgeopolitics.com
    It provides interesting perspective on international affairs like these.

    October 19, 2013 at 10:12 am | Reply

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