US Presidents and the Nobel Peace PrizeAugust 24, 2018
Which US Presidents Have Won the Nobel Peace Prize?
The Nobel Peace Prize, one of 6 prizes that the Nobel Committee presents almost every year, has been awarded since 1901. During this time, three US presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Barack Obama, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while serving in office. One, Jimmy Carter, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for contributions after his presidency.
Theodore Roosevelt was awarded thefor his role in ending the Russo-Japanese War.
Roosevelt was unable to attend the ceremony in 1906 but did deliver his Nobel Prize Lecture in 1910 while touring Europe after the conclusion of his second term. Roosevelt’s speech included a call for “a league of peace with international police power.”
Wilson won thefor his role in establishing the League of Nations and the development of his “Fourteen Points” which many believed contributed to ending of World War
Wilson was actually awarded the prize in 1920. He was unable to attend the ceremony due to a stroke which had left him partially paralyzed the previous year.
Wilson did not deliver a Nobel Lecture but sent a telegram that was delivered by the US Ambassador to Norway.
Obama was. The reasons for Obama’s recognition are less clear than the others. The Nobel Prize Committee seems to have been motivated by the inspirational example he set for others through his rhetoric and policy positions. The “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”
“So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. And yet this truth must coexist with another – that no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy. The soldier’s courage and sacrifice are full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause, to comrades in arms. But war itself is never glorious, and we must never trumpet it as such.”
In the words of the Nobel Prize Committee, Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Lecture, with these thoughts:“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.” Carter concluded his
“War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.
The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes – and we must.”
Two Vice-Presidents also won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Charles Dawes, Vice President under Calvin Coolidge from 1925–1929, shared the with the British Foreign Secretary Austen Chamberlain for their role in devising the Dawes Plan. Negotiated prior to Dawes’ election as Vice President, the Dawes Plan temporarily reduced tensions between Germany and France over disputed reparations payments resulting from World War I.
Dawes did not deliver a Nobel Lecture but sent a telegram in which he wrote, “It was the endeavor of the experts to found their plan upon the principles of justice, fairness, and mutual interest, relying for its acceptance thus prepared upon that common good faith which is the enduring hope for the universal safeguarding of peace. That the results achieved under it have merited in your judgment this high recognition is a tribute to the united efforts of the committee.”
Former Vice-President Al Gore Nobel Lecture he pronounced,with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In Gore’s
“We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency – a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst – though not all – of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly.”
Five sitting or former US Secretaries of State were also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for work they performed while in office, including
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Other notable Americans to have won the Nobel Peace Prize include
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