This year's Nobel Peace Prize, whose recipient will be announced Friday, is extremely difficult to predict for many reasons. First, there are the number of nominations – there are reported to be 301 this year, from Donald Trump to Edward Snowden to Jose Andres, which was submitted mainly by members of parliaments from around the world. There is also a mystery about the price: the full list of nominees will not be published for 50 years, although many have already been published by the nominees. However, this is usually a difficult race because it is not clear what the price is intended for.
In the early years, the prize was most often awarded to diplomats and political leaders for concrete diplomatic actions. In recent years it has also been given to individuals and organizations that engage in activism or sensitize them to a topic that is worthwhile. In addition, the definition of "peace" has been broadened for decades to include democracy, human rights, gender equality and race, environmental justice and a range of other concerns. This does not mean that the winners are necessarily below average – the prize was jointly awarded last year to Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Iraqi Yazid activist Nadia Murad for their work in the fight against sexual violence at war – but the award is less of a yardstick for whom did the best to advance the cause of peace in a given year, as a person or organization that considers a group of Norwegian politicians worthy to be celebrated in a given year by an award that was named after a Swedish arms dealer ,
Just because it's virtually impossible to make predictions does not stop people from trying. Here are some of the people and organizations that are causing the most attention this year.
The Swedish climate activist received most of the coverage prior to this year's award and received the best odds on betting websites. It is not difficult to understand why. The weekly school strike launched last year has become a global movement and has made the righteous and dull Thunberg the face of international activism against climate change.
At age 16, she would be the youngest person to ever win the award – Malala Yousafzai won him in 2014 at the age of 17. It would also be the second prize awarded for work on climate change: Al Gore and the government agency Panel on Climate Change were jointly awarded in 2007.
Nevertheless, some Nobel observers are skeptical about their chances. Thunberg had a much wider public profile this autumn with her much-noticed sail across the Atlantic Ocean and her glowing address to the General Assembly of the United States of America long after the Nobel Committee allegedly made its pre-selection in February. (The timing problem also affects a much-discussed candidate – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – who responded to the attack on the Christchurch Mosque in March.)
Nevertheless, Thunberg was already well-known in Scandinavia – it was nominated by a group of Norwegian MPs – and this would be a timely and popular election. (Maybe not so popular with one of her competitors.) If the movement she raises continues to grow, she'll probably win eventually, if not this year.
Hong Kong Activists
Henrik Urdal, director of the Oslo Peace Research Institute, who writes a much-quoted shortlist for the Peace Prize each year, is one of those who doubt Thunberg's chances. However, he considers it likely that the prize recognizes the "contributions of young people". Apart from the climate movement, the world's most visible youth-led movements in 2019 were protests for democracy in Hong Kong.
While this year's protest movements are considered leaderless, there are some well-known youth activists associated with it. Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, just to name two, became the public faces of the Umbrella Movements in 2014 when they were teenagers and founded the pro-democracy NGO Demosisto. The co-founder of the group, Nathan Law, was elected the youngest lawmaker in Hong Kong in 2016, but was later disqualified. These activists have been on the radar of the committee for a while – they were also nominated by a group of US legislators in 2018 – but this year's events have only made their work more urgent.
Beijing's other opponents have received the award, including the Dalai Lama in 1989 and the late activist Liu Xiaobo in 2010. An award for Hong Kong activists would be furious. China has quickly resisted the support of Hong Kong, which has been expressed even by the smallest public figures. China and Norway have recently resumed trade talks that were frozen due to Liu's award. Does Norway have its stomach for another showdown with a superpower?
Reporters Without Borders / Journalists Protection Committee
Urdal also notes that there has never been a Peace Prize for press freedom, and that it would certainly be on time in 2019. The number of journalists killed worldwide has risen steadily With violence being inflicted by criminals, terrorists and, as in the case of the Washington Post's Jamal Khashoggi, by national governments. Leaders like US President Donald Trump, Hungary's Viktor Orban and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro are not helping out by demonizing the press as national enemies.
There are any number of publications and individual reporters that could be honored, but honoring one of these venerable global press freedom organizations could be a way to bring the topic to the fore.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister is another popular choice for the 2019 Prize. Having conquered a stagnant authoritarian country after mass protests last year, 43-year-old Abiy has embarked on a series of bold and transformative reforms. These included the lifting of a year-long state of emergency, the release of thousands of political prisoners, the release of hundreds of media, the lifting of bans on opposition parties and the persecution of human rights violators. Amazingly, he reached a peace agreement in June to end the border dispute with neighboring Eritrea, one of the world's longest-running armed conflicts. At a time when democracy and human rights seem to be shrinking, Africa's second largest country was a rare ray of hope.
Nevertheless, there are still many uncertainties in Ethiopia, notably the country's massive displacement crisis triggered by ethnic violence, which could delay the planned parliamentary elections for next year. Abiy has resisted expectations so far, but it may be a bit early to just reward him.
International Criminal Court / Coalition for the International Criminal Court
Whatever he thinks, Trump will not win a Nobel Peace Prize for his negotiations with Kim Jong-un or for anything else. It is more likely that the Nobel Committee awards an award to pin him. A candidate could be either the ICC or the organization that supported the creation of the ICC and continues to support its work, which has received several nominations.
The court that the US never joined was never very popular here. But the Trump administration, particularly under former national security adviser John Bolton, has done everything it can to reach the ICC, including a plan in March to impose visa bans on its officials in an ongoing investigation into suspected war crimes in Afghanistan.
Apart from Trump, the Hague-based court has had a tough few years. A number of members have resigned instead of participating in the investigations. for procedural reasons it was not possible to fight crimes committed in the bloodiest conflict in the world, the war in Syria; and a number of African governments have attacked it – selfishly, but not without reason – because it is a neo-imperialist institution that overreaches African perpetrators.
Nevertheless, awarding the court and its advocates a sign of solidarity for the concepts of international law, justice, and accountability could be at a time when they are under dwindling attacks.