Nobel Peace Prize winner won’t pick up award in Oslo due to pandemic

The head of the World Food Programme David Beasley will not travel to Oslo in December to pick up the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Norwegian Nobel Institute said Wednesday.

Nobel Peace Prize winner won't pick up award in Oslo due to pandemic
The World Food Programme (WFP) headquarters in Rome. Photo: AFP

“We are now considering the possibility of holding a digital award ceremony where the WFP will be presented with the medal and diploma,” the institute said, adding that the traditional Nobel lecture and banquet had been postponed until next year.

“With the current restrictions in Oslo, it would not be possible to carry out the ceremony or other parts of the laureate's traditional programme in a good and worthy manner.”

The award ceremony, lecture and banquet are traditionally held in Oslo on December 10th, the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel.

A separate ceremony is usually held on the same day in Stockholm for the other Nobel prizes in the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics.

But the Nobel Foundation announced in September that that ceremony had been cancelled for the first time since 1944 — then because of World War II — in favour of a televised event showing the laureates receiving their medals and diplomas in their home countries.

The WFP, founded in 1961, was honoured with the Peace Prize for its efforts “to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”, Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said when she announced the winner on October 9th.

READ ALSO: World Food Programme wins Nobel Peace Prize

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Norwegian MP proposes Black Lives Matter for Nobel Peace Prize

Norwegian MP Petter Eide has nominated Black Lives Matter for the Nobel Peace Prize, reportedly stating that the movement had "forced countries other than the US to face up to racism within their own societies."

Norwegian MP proposes Black Lives Matter for Nobel Peace Prize
A Black Lives Matter demonstration in Oslo, 2016. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB/ TT

“I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality,” Mr Eide said in his nomination papers, according to The Guardian.  

“Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice. They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice,” he added.

Founded in the United States in 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum in May 2020 after George Floyd died. A white policeman had knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes ignoring Floyd’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe.

The incident fuelled protests in the United States that sped across the world.

“This movement has become one of the strongest global movements for working with racial injustice,” Petter Eide, told AFP.

“They have also been spread to many many countries, building up… awareness on the importance of fighting racial injustice,” he said.

Tens of thousands of people, including MPs and ministers from all countries, former Nobel laureates and distinguished academics, can propose candidates for the various Nobel prizes. The deadline ends on Sunday.

The Nobel prizes will be announced at the start of October.