PRIO Director's Speculations 2005

PRIO Director Stein Tønnesson's Favourites (on 6 October 2005 - before announcement)

The PRIO Director's four favourites for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize (as based on possible angles that the Committee may take) are as follows:

  • Richard Lugar & Sam Nunn, Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR)
  • Make Poverty History - Bono - Geldof
  • Martti Ahtisaari, Crisis Management Initiative
  • Oxfam

1. Richard Lugar & Sam Nunn, Cooperative Threat Reduction

The Director has for several years mentioned Senator Richard Lugar (Republican) and former Senator Sam Nunn (Democrat) as likely candidates for the Peace Prize for their Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programme, which dismantles nuclear missiles and submarines to secure fissile materials in the states of the former Soviet Union .


Since the Committee appears in recent years to be reluctant to give the prize to high-profile politicians, Nihon Hidankyo, an organization of the atomic-bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki , and Senji Yamaguchi, Hidankyo's chairman and a Nagasaki survivor, would be a good alternative for a prize aimed at the reduction of WMDs.

2. Make Poverty History - Bono - Geldof

A coalition of many campaigns and organisations have come together under one banner to 'Make Poverty History' by putting pressure on politicians to give trade justice, more and better aid and to drop third world debt, and is a good candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize as they have seen considerable success over the last year. One of the campaign's many high profile backers may be chosen to accept the prize on behalf of the coalition.  Nelson Mandela won the prize in 1993. Bono, the front-man of Irish rock success U2, or Bob Geldof, who started Band Aid in 1984, may be considered.

Bono has been a tireless campaigner for third-world debt relief and the plight of Africa ever since his appearance in Band Aid in 1984.  Speculations that he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize have been around for years, and the committee might soon be prepared to award the prize to a pop-star. 

Bob Geldof started the supergroup Band Aid in 1984 to raise money and awareness for the famine in Ethiopia, and went on to organize Live Aid in 1985, and Live 8 in 2005.  It is confirmed that he has been nominated for next year's (2006) Nobel Peace Prize (but has not necessarily been nominated in 2005).

3. Martti Ahtisaari, Crisis Management Initiative

Former Finnish president (1994-2000) who just recently brokered a peace treaty between the government of and the Free Aceh Movement though his NGO the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI).  The candidates are highly relevant in 2005 since Aceh was the region hardest hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004.

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has noted that the peace processes in Aceh and also South Sudan may inspire the peace prize. Sudan's vice president Ali Osman Taha, and the Kenyan mediator for the Sudan Peace Agreement, Lazaro Sumbeiywo, are candidates in respect of the latter.



No individual.  There are no other peace processes that have had any similar success in 2005, and the only other individual to have distinguished him or herself in connection with the tsunami is United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland. However, as a Norwegian, and a likely candidate for Foreign Minister in 's new cabinet, he'll not be considered. So the alternative is to award the prize to a humanitarian organization that has not won the prize before, like Save the Children or Oxfam (see 4.).

4. Oxfam

Oxfam International, founded in 1995, is a confederation of 12 independent, not-for-profit, secular, community-based aid and development organisations who work with local partners in over 100 countries worldwide to reduce poverty, suffering, and injustice.  They are also a member of the Make Poverty History coalition.


Possible Angles

The Director's top-four speculations are based on the three most likely angles that the Nobel Committee may take on the 2005 prize. 

1. Nuclear arms

The last time someone working specifically with nuclear arms and arms reductions got the prize was in 1995, when it – to everyone's surprise – went to Joseph Rotblat and Pugwash. Ten years before it went to International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. The 1975 prize to Andrei Sakharov was also related to his background as a nuclear physicist. Based on a cyclical theory, and also because 2005 represents the 60 year anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and  Nagasaki , the committee may choose to award the prize to someone engaged in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Chairman of the Nobel Committee Ole Danbolt Mjøs acknowledged to the Washington Post earlier this year that traditional criteria for the prize, such as "work on the reduction of arms and arms control", had gone "out of style", which may indicate a different angle on this year's prize.  However, with the recent failure of the UN summit to agree on a text about non-proliferation of WMD, the Nobel Committee may see a need to remind the world once again of the threat from nuclear weapons.

The main possibilities are then: The Nunn-Lugar CTR programme; Nihon Hidankyo and/or Senji Yamaguchi; and (possibly) the IAEA and it's Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei.

2. Ecumenity/religious harmony/pop-stars

The Committee may favour an individual or humanitarian organization that has successfully worked to bridge the gap between religions.  However, there are no obvious candidates.

Geir Lundestad speculates in his book (co-edited with Olav Njølstad) War & Peace in the 20th Century and Beyond on new dimensions to the peace prize.  Published in 2002, he saw the rising importance of the environment to the Peace Prize, and in 2004 this came true when the prize was awarded to Wangari Maathai.   He goes on to suggest that even pop-stars could become laureates in the future, stating parenthetically Bono and Geldof.

However, it is worth noting that Bono and Geldof have come under fire for getting too close to those in power, and legitimizing their actions, most notably by George Monbiot who dubbed them the Bards of the Powerful.

3. Poverty & Catastrophes

Organisations, and the individuals that front them, that have played an important role in providing humanitarian relief in the wake of several catastrophic natural disasters of the last year may be considered. 

Mjøs also told the Washington Post that "a new criterion had been introduced…about how we live together, share resources… about preserving the Earth", so it seems entirely possible that the expansion of themes – as introduced last year with the prize to environmentalist Wangari Maathai – will lead to the consideration of humanitarian and crisis relief organizations (such as Save the Children and Oxfam).

4. Female Activists

Since the committee, with a majority of female members, has awarded the prize to female activists and intellectuals the last two years, many speculate that they will do so again (one could speculate that for the same reason they will not do so again).  Nominations for female activists and intellectuals appear to have increased. 

Some of the more likely individuals include:

Rebiya Kadeer

Prisoner-of-conscience Rebiya Kadeer (now released) has struggled for Uyghur human rights in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (also known as East Turkistan), , and winner of the 2004 Rafto prize

Lida Yusupova

Lawyer and spokeswoman for the forgotten victims of the war in , and winner of the 2005 Rafto prize.

Louisa Hanoun

Head of the Parti des Travailleurs (Labour Party), and the first woman to run for president in .  She was imprisoned several times prior to the legalization of political parties in 1988, was one of the few opposition voices in parliament during the civil war, and is now a Member of Parliament.

It is worth also noting an organisation called '1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005' that has been nominated as representative of a thousand different women (and symbolic of the many more) who are each engaged in working for a better future in their own way.  The proposal is that three of the 1000 women would attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on 10 December to receive the prize on behalf of all.



Because nominations are officially kept a secret, the list below is based on information leaked to the press/world wide web and could possibly be based on rumours and hearsay. It is by no means complete or assured, but represents the best possible list given the information present at the time of writing. For further information on the nomination process click here.


Confirmed Nominations:

[Although nominators are strongly requested not to publish their proposals, the following list of nominees is confirmed only to the extent that the nominators have apparently chosen to publicise their choice anyway]

  • Michael Scharf & Public International Law & Policy Group, nominated by six foreign governments for "significantly contributing to the promotion of peace throughout the globe by providing crucial pro bono legal assistance to states and nonstate entities involved in peace negotiations and in bringing war criminals to justice."
  • Mikhail Saakashvili, President of , nominated by, among others, Senators John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
  • Nihon Hidankyo, a Japanese organisation that represents a group of survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, nominated by the The American Friends Service Committee, or Quakers (1947 Nobel Prize winner), and suggested by the Norwegian organization Nei til atomvåpen (No to Nuclear Weapons).
  • Senji Yamaguchi, a Nagasaki survivor and anti-nuclear weapons campaigner, nominated by Irwin Abrams.
  • Mordechai Vanunu, released from prison in April 2004, Israeli nuclear technician, nominated by Mairead Corrigan Maguire (1976 Nobel Prize winner).
  • Peshawar City,  North West Frontier Province (NWFP), nominated by  Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gillani, the vice chancellor of the NWFP University of Engineering and Technology, and Lt. General (retired) Mumtaz Gul, vice chancellor of the University of Peshawar.
  • Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine, nominated by five members of the EU Parliament: Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, vice president; Elmar Broek, chairman of the foreign affairs committee; Toomas Ilves, deputy of the foreign affairs committee; Marek Siwiec, chairman of the Ukraine committee; and Charles Tannock, vice chairman of the Ukraine committee.
  • Stanley "Tookie" Williams, LA gang leader on death row, nominated by a group of professors.

    Possible Nominations:


    [The following "possible" nominees are not confirmed. Although there is plenty of speculation in some cases, the nominators have apparently not chosen to publicly confirm their nominations]

    • Ms. Rebiya Kadeer, a prisoner of conscience in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (also known as East Turkistan), , and winner of the 2004 Rafto prize.
    • Ms. Lida Yusupova, lawyer and spokeswoman for the forgotten victims of the war in , and winner of the 2005 Rafto prize.
    • Save the Children
    • Oxfam
    • Colin Powell, former secretary of state, & George W. Bush, president, for their efforts to end 's 21-year civil war (possibly nominatd by Congressmen Frank Wolf)
    • "Thousand Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005"
    • Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela
    • George Ryan, former Illinois Governor and anti-death penalty campaigner
    • Tiananmen Mothers of those killed in the 1989 massacre in Beijing
    • Salvation Army
    • Vaclav Havel, former Czech President
    • Comunità di Sant'Egidio
    • Hadassah Medical Organization
    • Taslima Nasreen,  Bangladeshi writer
    • Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani,  Iraqi Shia cleric