In September 2020, two members of parliament, respectively in Sweden and Norway, said they had nominated the US government and President Donald Trump for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. Trump, his re-election campaign and his supporters cited the nominations as important achievements and points of pride. However, the rules and history of the nomination process suggest that simply submitting your name for a Nobel Peace Prize is not necessarily the honor or achievement that Trump and his supporters have claimed.
On 9 September 2020, Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the Stortinget (Norwegian National Legislative Assembly) of the right-wing Fremskrittspartiet (Progress Party), conducted an interview with Fox News in which he claimed to have nominated Trump for the Nobel Prize for peace on the basis of a US-brokered agreement signed in August 2020 to establish full diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE.
On September 1
I have nominated the US government and the governments of Kosovo and Serbia for the Nobel Peace Prize for their joint work for peace and economic development, through the cooperation agreement signed at the White House. Trade and communications are important building blocks for peace. pic.twitter.com/XuhkLbHZAV
– Magnus Jacobsson (@magnusjacobsson) 11 September 2020
Kosovo was internationally recognized as a province of Yugoslavia and later Serbia for many years, but declared its independence in 2008. It is now recognized as a sovereign state by more than 100 other nations, including the United States but not the Serbia.
“A great thing”
Trump, his campaign and his supporters publicized the nominations in the following days. On 9 September, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany opened her press conference with the announcement of Tybring-Gjedde’s appointment, calling him “a hard earned and deserved honor.” The White House advertised the nomination on Twitter and its website, falsely describing Tybring-Gjedde as “president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly” (that body does not have a president, but its president is Attila Mesterházy of Hungary. Tybring-Gjedde is chairman of the Norwegian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly).
At a rally in Minden, Nevada on September 12, Trump called the nominations “an important thing,” saying that September 11 had been “nominated a second time for another Nobel Prize,” a jumbled wording that confuses the fact that it was nominated for only one award, albeit by two different people. He advertised his nomination again at a rally in Las Vegas the following day, to tell the crowd: “They nominated your president, twice in the past week, on two different topics, for a Nobel Prize.”
Sean Hannity, a host of Fox News and one of the president’s most prominent supporters, tweeted that in the space of “just a week”, Trump had been “nominated not for one, but two Nobel Peace Prizes,” the same oddly phrase. inaccurate used by the president himself.
Between September 10 and 14, Trump and his campaign posted a total of 48 ads on Facebook and Instagram to promote nominations as part of his re-election step to voters. Half of those ads contained an image with an unfortunate spelling error that read “President Trump has been nominated for Noble Peace Prize “:
Despite Trump’s characterization of nominations as an “important thing,” the bar for being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize is lower than many American voters might imagine, and the list of candidates is generally neither. short nor exclusive. In the past it has even contained the names of some of the most insulted and controversial figures in 20th century history.
It should also be noted that the Nobel Foundation has not disclosed the names of candidates or nominators for 50 years, so formally speaking, we cannot yet say with certainty that Tybring-Gjedde and Jacobsson have, in fact, nominated Trump for the award. for 2021. Tybring-Gjedde also said he nominated Trump for the award in 2018, and 2016 saw unconfirmed reports that an anonymous person had also named the incoming president for that year’s award.
In 2018, a senior official of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the five-member body that makes the final decision regarding the recipient of the peace prize, confirmed that two separate nominations for Trump in 2017 and 2018 appeared to have been forged and that the matter was referred to the Oslo police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“It’s easy enough to be named”
According to the Nobel Foundation, the Swedish institution that administers the Nobel Prizes, a person cannot apply for the Peace Prize, and only living people and active organizations are valid candidates. The following categories of individuals are qualified to nominate a person or entity for the Peace Award:
- Current heads of state
- Members of governments and national assemblies in sovereign states
- Members of the Institut de Droit International (of which 167)
- Members of the International Council of the International League of Women for Peace and Freedom (including 17)
- University professors, emeritus professors and associate professors of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology and religion; university rectors and directors (or their equivalent); directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes
- People who received the Nobel Peace Prize
- Members of the main board of directors or its equivalent of the organizations that have received the Nobel Peace Prize
- Current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee (proposals from current committee members must be submitted no later than the first meeting of the Committee after 1 February)
- Former advisors to the Norwegian Nobel Committee
Based on data collected by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, more than 46,000 people participate in national legislative assemblies around the world. Taking an approximate assumption of an average cabinet size of 20 (based on existing research) and 193 UN member states, the number of government ministers worldwide would be approximately 3,800.
Based on statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor, there are approximately 170,000 post-secondary teachers in the academic subject areas specified by the Nobel Foundation in the United States alone. The world figure is probably a multiple of this. In 2017, higher education analyst firm Quacquarelli Symonds estimated that the number of universities worldwide would likely exceed 40,000, so the “directors, rectors and equivalents” of those institutions can also be added to the pool of nominators.
The total number of individuals eligible to nominate someone else for the Nobel Peace Prize is therefore likely to exceed half a million, although this is only a rough estimate.
The number of nominations in a typical year is obviously only a small fraction of that figure, but still more than many readers may have assumed. According to the organizers, 318 candidates have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 (211 of which are individuals and 107 entities). The highest number of applicants was registered in 2016, when 376 individuals and organizations received applications.
The Nobel Prizes were funded and established in accordance with the wishes of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish chemist and inventor of dynamite. It intended that the peace prize be awarded “to the person who has done more or better to promote brotherhood among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses.”
However, due to the large pool of potential nominators, representing a wide range of views and expertise, the list of candidates for peace awards is not always composed of deserving individuals. In the past, some of the most controversial and insulted historical figures of the 20th century have also managed to win nominations, including:
- Joseph Stalin – Responsible for the deaths of several million Soviet subjects, through political purges, forced famine and starvation and mass executions. Nominated for the 1945 and 1948 Nobel Peace Prize.
- Benito Mussolini – Brutal Italian fascist dictator. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by two nominators, in 1935.
- Josip Broz (“Tito”) – Controversial Yugoslav dictator who was declared “President for life” towards the end of his nearly three decades of rule. His secret police violently repressed dissent and opposition to his leadership. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963.
- Rafael Trujillo – Dominican dictator whose 31-year reign, from 1930 to 1961, was marked by exceptionally brutal and violent crackdowns on alleged dissidents and opponents, as well as the October 1937 parsley massacre, in which Trujillo ordered the execution of thousands of Haitians, many of them executed with machetes. He received seven nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1936.
In 2019, Olav Njolstad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, summed up the dynamics of the nomination process, telling the AFP news agency: “There are so many people who have the right to nominate a candidate that it’s not very complicated. be nominated. “Geir Lundestad, Njolstad’s predecessor on the committee, added:” It’s easy enough to be nominated. It’s much harder to win. “