The European Union and 10 More Nobel Prize Controversies

From Kissinger to Obama and beyond.

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Reuters

Occasionally, a total shoo-in — or, at least, a fairly obvious choice — will materialize come Nobel Prize season, assisting the Nobel committee with what must be a rather difficult process. But when that’s not the case (and it’s usually not), the decision-makers will often award the prestigious Peace Prize to what ends up being a divisive and often controversial recipient. This year’s prize, for example, went to the European Union — a choice that above all seemed to provoke not an angry response but a bemused one, given the ongoing economic turmoil happening across the 27-member bloc.

But this was more about peace — and history — than it was about current economics. The committee cited the E.U.’s long-term process of building peace throughout Europe, focusing on post-World War II reconciliation efforts. But still, the timing feels a bit off — and if anything it provides fodder for critics across the globe to take jabs at the committee’s seemingly bizarre choice. Because really, people love dissecting and criticizing the Nobel committee’s choices year after year. It’s fun for us. Maybe because we secretly envy the winners, or maybe because we just like to criticize. Either way, throughout the prize’s 111-year history, the decisions have often sparked a complex combination of fury, confusion, contention and laughter. For more, check out TIME’s full list of Nobel Prize controversies through history.

6 comments
rory2012
rory2012

Only the dumb people think Noble Peace Prize is an event.

Michael Brandstetter
Michael Brandstetter

The award of the 2012 Peace Prize to the European Union is an abomination.

With the many persons and local, regional and global organizations involved in humanitarian and political peace processes, which went – once again – unrecognized, one wonders what could possibly have brought the Nobel Prize Committee to this years decision?

Awarding the 'peace' prize to a political body, which is grappling with economic issues solely brought on by their own incompetence of economic leadership, and by complicity in the dismantling of the socio-economic structures of the member states for the benefit of corporations and the unfettered greed of a new class of super-rich individuals, shows a complete disconnect of the committee to the meaning of the struggle for peace.

It has been reported that the Nobel Prize Committee, this revered and universally important organization, is struggling to find balance in its global choice of awards. This recent decision, though, points to the possibility that the Committee has lost its way.

bluecrane1
bluecrane1

What's controversial about a  private institution, awarding a private recognition and private funds to a person selected by it's own appointed private board.  Apparently some people seem to believe that they themselves should control the Nobel process. Somehow I suspect most of the critics would be happy if an empty headed country western singer with a cowboy hat and defective speech were awarded the peace prize.

ProfessorPolecat
ProfessorPolecat

The point flies right over your head because you are too busy being partisan. People are aloud their opinions just as the Nobel committee is. It seems you have a problem with people's opinions not the actual issue.

Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson

Think again if possible. I asked "what's controversial".  There's nothing "controversial" about a private institution conducting its own affairs as long as nobody's rights are infringed upon.  Do you have a problem with letting private individuals and entities determine their own agendas?

ProfessorPolecat
ProfessorPolecat

The 14 year old fighting for women's rights in Pakistan (who is incidentally fighting for her life) deserved this much more. This portion of the nobel is a laughing stock.