Each year, PRIO Director Kristian Berg Harpviken presents his own shortlist for the Nobel Peace Prize, based on his independent assessment. The list has been offered by PRIO Directors since 2002 and is widely covered by international media. While the Director of PRIO may be a relevant commentator on the issue, his speculations do not confirm, nor endorse, any candidate, and are not in any manner based on privileged access to the decision-making of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Neither the Director, nor the Institute he leads, have any form of association with the Nobel Institute or the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Read more here.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee bases its decision on valid nominations received by the 1 February deadline (in addition to potential nominations put forth by the Committee members at their first meeting after the deadline). Anyone can be nominated, but only a number of people have the right to nominate, including members of national assemblies and governments, current and former members of the Committee, Peace Prize laureates, professors of certain disciplines, directors of peace research and foreign policy institutes, and members of international courts. As such, the Director of PRIO holds the right to nominate, but refrains, given his active role as a commentator. This year's laureate will be announced at 11 o'clock on Friday 9 October. The Nobel institute announced in March that there are 273 candidates this year, 68 organizations and 205 persons.
If you have any questions, require further information or would like an interview, feel free to contact Harpviken or his adviser Halvor Berggrav.
Harpviken's 2015 Nobel Peace Prize shortlist
- Angela Merkel
- Juan Manuel Santos and Timoleón Jiménez
- Dmitry Muratov and the Novaya Gazeta
- Article 9 Association
- Jeanne Nacatche Banyere, Jeannette Kahindo Bindu and Dr. Denis Mukwege
In 2015, Harpviken’s favourite is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for staking out a more humane course in the European response to the mounting number of refugees. Number two is shared between President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timoleón Jiménez, for their commitment to a peace process that carries strong promise of bringing the Colombian conflict to an end. Third on the list is Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and its Editor Dmitry Muratov, which continue to challenge political developments in Russia and its immediate neighbourhood, despite the loss of several journalists in violent attacks. Number four is Article 9 Association, working to preserve Article 9 in the Japanese constitution, which renounces Japan's right to engage in war or to maintain military forces capable of engaging in war. The fifth and final suggestion is for a combined prize to Jeanne Nacatche Banyere, Jeannette Kahindo Bindu and Denis Mukwege, three Congolese who stand at the forefront of the struggle against sexual violence.
About the favourites
German Chancellor Merkel is placed on top of Harpviken’s list this year for her remarkable response to this year’s refugee crisis. In a time when many have dodged responsibility, Merkel has shown true leadership and risen above politics, taking a humane approach in a difficult situation. Merkel may perhaps not qualify as an altruistic Mother Theresa, and her stance has toughened in recent weeks, but a collective European response to the current situation and handling of migrants and refugees in the future, is unthinkable without Merkel at the helm. Jochen Bittner, political editor at Die Zeit, placed Merkel’s initiative in historical context when writing “In the past few weeks, I have been tempted to say something once unthinkable for my generation: I’m proud to be German”. (A group of German Members of Parliamant has indeed nominated Merkel this year, not for her refugee response, but for her role in brokering a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine.)
Seeing as the refugee crisis has been one of the major situations in international politics this year, there are also others staking a claim. Harpviken listed the Italy-based Erithrean priest Mussie Zerai in his speculations of late January this year, and another candidate could be the UNHCR, which also won in 1954 and 1981.
Juan Manuel Santos and Timoleón Jiménez
After 50 years of armed conflict in Colombia, a lasting peace agreement has never been closer. In recent months, the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla have thrashed out vital components of the peace treaty, and set a date for its finalization. President Juan Manuel Santos, noted for his tough line on FARC from his time as Minister of Defence, and FARC leader Timoleón “Timochenko” Jiménez have both appeared content and confident during the last rounds of talks in Havana. For the involved parties to set aside decade-long grievances in a conflict where both sides have committed atrocities is a grand achievement. While there is still some way to go, they have agreed on premises for the future political participation of the FARC movement, as well as a transitional justice system to be set up and for the guerrillas to lay down their weapons – for good. Both parties have been willing to tackle the difficult issues, and the Colombian peace process is increasingly looking irreversible. While both Santos and Timochenko are controversial figures, and each have their share of responsibility for past violence, the Colombian peace process should be a likely candidate for the Peace Prize, follows in a aline of other Nobel Prizes through history, and would definitely be in Nobel’s spirit.
Peace processes are underway elsewhere, such as Myanmar and the Philippines, and other candidates in the same category cannot be ruled out. Another possibility, however, is the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 – although barely a peace deal in a conventional sense – where one could imagine a prize shared between Federica Mogherini (High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs) and Mohammad Javad Zarif (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran).
Dmitry Muratov and the Novaya Gazeta
The space for independent media continues to be shrinking in Russia, with the newspaper Novaya Gazeta and its editor Dmitry Muratov impressively holding on to the principles of journalism, despite severe costs. Independent reporting and free media is widely seen to positively contribute to peace, holding governments and others accountable. In spite of this, no Nobel Prize has ever been awarded to the media. With Russia’s state security apparatus severely restricting the space for public expression, drawing attention to its few remaining independent media would send a strong signal. Dmitry Muratov was one of the founders of the Novaya Gazeta in 1993, and he remains its driving editorial force. The paper, which launched at the initiative of Mikhail Gorbachev (who devoted part of his Nobel Peace Prize money for the purpose), has since experienced the killings of several of its journalists. Its website has been exposed to numerous cyberattacks, and more recently, to police ransacking and threats of closure.
There are other leading media outlets in Russia that could merit similar attention, including the Echo of Moscow radio station and the TV station Dozhd, but Harpviken believes Novaya Gazeta – alongside Muratov – is the more likely candidate.
Article 9 Association
Institutions matter and constitutional principles matter, particularly when rooted in popular support. Article 9 of Japan’s constitution says that the state will abstain from ‘the right of belligerency’, and that it will ‘forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.’ A large part of the population sees this non-aggression commitment as the main cause Japan has stayed out of war for the last 70 years. In a region characterized by deep tensions, there are concerns that last year’s reinterpretation of Article 9 by the Abe government and the subsequent ‘Peace and Security Preservation Legislation’, passed in September this year, are precursors of armed confrontation. From previously limiting Japan’s military to self-defence, the new interpretation and bills allow for collective self-defence and full military cooperation in international operations. Additionally, Abe has announced an amendment of the constitutional article itself to take place in 2016. With a clear ruling bloc majority in both parliamentary chambers, the bills passed easily. There is strong opposition in the Japanese public, however, and a number of entities are working for the preservation of the clause as it is and reverting to the previous interpretation. One of them, which Harpviken sees as the most likely candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize, is the Article 9 Association, set up by a group of nine senior academics and cultural personalities, including Kenzaburo Oe, a former Nobel laureate in literature. The same cause could also bring attention to other initiatives, including Nihon Hidankyo: The Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers, and Ms. Naomi Takasu, who has been spearheading a civil society campaign to bring international attention to the threatened constitutional clause. Those working for the preservation of article 9 see international recognition – such as the Nobel Peace Prize – as important for what they perceive to be a basic national value. We may have come to think of wars between states as virtually extinct after the end of the Cold War, but events in Ukraine and simmering tensions in East Asia remind us they may reappear. A return to a principle often hailed in earlier periods of the Peace Prize would be well timed.
Jeanne Nacatche Banyere, Jeannette Kahindo Bindu and Dr. Denis Mukwege
With armed conflict and war, sexual violence very often follows, both during and after actual battle action. Three individuals with a long-standing engagement against sexual violence are Mama Jeanne, Mama Jeannette and Dr. Mukwege from DR Congo. Through their church network, the two women have been involved since the early 2000s, leading the work of seeking out survivors of sexual violence all across the country, providing support and ensuring that they receive treatment and help. Gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, on the other hand, set up the Panzi Hospital in Bakuvu, dedicated to providing treatment to these women; has personally treated thousands of women and is today a leading expert on repairing the physical damage from rape and sexual violence. By awarding the trio’s local, grassroots and on-the-ground actions with a Nobel Prize, the Nobel committee has a chance to strengthen the visibility of sexual violence as a global problem.
There are a number of other possible candidates on the same topic, including Zainab Bangura, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and Colombia’s civil society group the ‘Butterflies’.
[For the sake of transparency, it should be noted that PRIO researchers are collaborating with Mukwege and the Panzi Hospital for a research project on female empowerment].
Nominations for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize
The list below attempts to reflect all confirmed and possible nominations, and is based on available information in the press, on the web or provided to us directly. This year, The Nobel Peace Prize Watch has compiled a list of 25 confirmed nominations, of candidates that the organization sees as in line with Alfred Nobel’s will, all of those nominates are included here. The present list is not quality assured in terms of whether the nominator is eligible, nor as to whether the committee indeed has received a nomination letter. Our list is far from exhaustive; the Nobel Comittee revealed after their first meeting in 2015 that it has received a total of 276 nominations for this year's Peace Prize, thereof 227 nominations of individuals and 49 nominations of organizations. By comparison, last year 278 nominations were submitted, a record high.
- Leyla Yunus, Azerbaijani human rights defender, has been nominated by Professor Charlotte Bunch, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University.
- Memorial, the Moscow based civil rights society, has been nominated by former Nobel laureate Lech Walesa for its work against authoritarian oppression.
- The Giulio Andreotti Institute and Secret Archives has been nominated (confirmed by US nominator).
- Patricia Chilelli, Director of the Giulio Andreotti Institute and Secret Archives has been nominated (confirmed by US nominator).
- Article 9 Association, an organization set up to protect Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, by which Japan renounces the right to engage in war. Confirmed nomination by dr. Peter van den Dungen, University of Bradford.
- Nihon Hidankyo: The Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers, has been nominated for its work to protect Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, by which Japan renounces the right to engage in war. Nominated by the International Peace Bureau. Also nominated by dr. Peter van den Dungen, University of Bradford.
- Sumitero Taniguchi representative of the Hibakusha, those who personally suffered from the atomic bombings in Japan, have been nominated by the International Peace Bureau for his work against nuclear weapons.
- Setsuko Thurlow, representative of the Hibakusha, those who personally suffered from the atomic bombings in Japan, has been nominated by International Peace Bureau for her work against nuclear weapons.
- Naomi Takasu, campaigning that the Nobel Peace Prize be given to the people of Japan for the preservation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution (has been nominated by a South Korean group, though her nomination is not directly confirmed).
- Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, imprisoned US whistleblower, has been nominated previously, and with a campaign for her, is most likely nominated again this year.
- Raif Badawi, imprisoned Saudi blogger and human rights activist, and his lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair are nominated by Norwegian Members of Parliament Karin Andersen and Snorre Valen (Socialist Left).
- Peace activist Daisaku Ikeda has been nominated (confirmed nomination by Nobel Peace Prize laureate).
- Soka Gakkai International, a global network of peace activists has been nominated (confirmed nomination by Nobel Peace Prize laureate).
- Evelin Lindner, an academic working to avoid humiliation of nations and secure or safeguard human dignity has been nominated by professor Thomas Hylland Eriksen, University of Oslo.
- Kathryn Bolkovac, USA, has been nominated by professor Aslak Syse at the University of Oslo, for her efforts to call international attention to the problems and abuses of the private military and security business.
- Beji Caid Essebsi, current president of Tunisia, has been nominated for his work with the National Dialogue in Tunisia by Conservative politicians Nikolai Astrup, Peter Christian Frølich and Sveinung Stensland, according to Norwegian news service NTB.
- Moncef Marzouki, former president of Tunisia has also been nominated for his work with the National Dialogue in Tunisia by Conservative politicians Nikolai Astrup, Peter Christian Frølich and Sveinung Stensland, according to Norwegian news service NTB.
- Federico Mayor a Spanish national and Director General of UNESCO from 1987 to 1999, has been nominated for his work for peace, by Ingeborg Breines, Norway, Co-president of the International Peace Bureau.
- UNESCO has been nominated for its work for peace also by Ingeborg Breines, Norway, Co-president of the International Peace Bureau.
- Esther Madudu, midwife at the Atirir Health Centre in Katine, Uganda. Her candidacy is promoted by the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF).
- Pope Francis is nominated for his work for social justice by Norwegian MP for the Liberal Party, Abid Raja.
- Transparency International, working to enhance accountability and eliminate corruption worldwide, is nominated by an eligible academic who wishes to remain anonymous.
- Flemming Rose, the editor of Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten has been nominated for his work for the freedom of speech by the Norwegian Conservative MP Michael Tetzschner.
- Daniel Ellsberg, the former US defence analyst has been nominated for his publication of secret Vietnam war documents by the Norwegian MP Marit Arnstad.
- Edward Snowden, the US surveillance whistleblower, has again been nominated by Norwegian MPs from Socialist Left, Snorre Valen and Bård Vegar Solhjell.
- Gene Sharp, the peace researcher, nominated for his non-violence approach to resistance against authoritarian regimes, by Norwegian MP for the Green Party, Rasmus Hansson.
- Maggie Gobran, the Egyptian aid worker has been nominated by two Norwegian Members of Parliamant representing Christian Democrats, Knut Arild Hareide and Line Henriette Hjemdal.
- David Swanson, American journalist and activist has been nominated for for his work for peace and disarmament by professor emeritus Richard Falk, University of Princeton and Prof. Jeffrey Bachman, American University, Washington.
- The International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear arms, ICAN, has been nominated according to press reports quoting Norwegian news service NTB.
- Women´s international League for Peace and Freedom, WILPF, has been nominated for their work to abolish war and militarism by Senator Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens.
- David Krieger, academic and co-founder of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, has been nominated for his work against nuclear arms by Bill Wickersham, professor of Peace Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
- Steve Killelea, the Australian IT entrepreneur and founder of the Institute for Economics and Peace, has been nominated for his work in peace research. Nominated by Simon Xavier Guerrand-Hermès, Chairman of the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace.
- The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has been nominated for its work by Bill Wickersham, professor of Peace Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
- Richard Falk USA, has been renominated every year since 2009 for his contribution both to disarmament and to developing its necessary foundations in international law by professor Ståle Eskeland, University of Oslo.
- International Assosiation of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms, IALANA, has been nominated for for its work against nuclear arms by professors Alf Petter Høgberg, Ståle Eskeland, Nils Christie, all of the University of Oslo.
- Juristen und Juristinnen gegen atomare, biologische und chemische Waffen , Germany, has been nominated for its work against nuclear arms by professors Alf Petter Høgberg, Ståle Eskeland, Nils Christie, all of the University of Oslo.
- Peter Weiss, an American lawyer, has been nominated for his work against nuclear arms, by professors Alf Petter Høgberg, Ståle Eskeland, Nils Christie, all of the University of Oslo.
- Steinar Bryn, a Norwegian academic, has been nominated for his work for alternative dispute resolution, by professor Nils Christie, University of Oslo.
- The Nansen Dialogue Network has been nominated for their work on conflict resolution, also by professor Nils Christie, University of Oslo.
- Benjamin Ferencz, an American lawyer, has been nominated for his work in international law, by professor Hope May, Central Michigan University.
- Jan Oberg, a Danish academic, has been nominated for his efforts for international peace, by Christian Juhl, Danish Member of Parliament.
- The eight Millennium Development Goals have been nominated for their importance for global development, by Mogens Jensen, Danish minister of trade and development.
- Alyn Ware of New Zealand has been nominated for his work for peace and disarmament by Bill Kidd of the Scottish parliament.
- Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, is nominated by a group of German MPs for her peace efforts in Ukraine.
- Abolition2000, a global network organization, has been nominated for their work against nuclear arms also by Bill Kidd of the Scottish parliament.
- One Billion Acts of Peace, a global campaign co-chaired by Singaporean and former Google engineer Tan Chade-Meng, reports to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by six former laureates.
- Kiribati’s President Anote Tong for his on-going work to draw world attention to the situation of the peoples and cultures most at risk from the effects of climate change. Nominated by an international committee.
- Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist Monk, is campaigned for, with reference to a statement by earlier laureate Martin Luther King.
- Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, nominated by UNARTS "for his efforts in spreading peace, saving Egyptians from imminent danger in June 30", according to The Cairo Post, though it is questionable whether the organization (not related to the United Nations, despite its name) is eligible for nominating.
- Mother of King Felipe of Spain, Queen Sofia, is reportedly nominated by Spanish academics for her commitment to Alzheimer's research and working with the handicapped and other marginalized groups.
- Leo Rebello, India, and John Dear, USA, is nominated by Eugenio Lai of the International Parliament for Safety and Peace. (Eligibility for nominating is uncertain.)
- Victor Ochen and the African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) has been jointly nominated by the American Friends Service Committe, for their advocacy for youth in general and victims of violence in particular.
- The Cuban Medical Internationalism programme is nominated by Professor John Kirk, Dalhousie University, for its extraordinary record in international medical cooperation, last witnessed during the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
- Jeanne Nacatche Banyere, Jeannette Kahindo Bindu and Dr. Denis Mukwege are nominated by Jonas Gahr Støre, Marit Nybakk og Stine Renate Håheim, all Norwegian Members of Parliament representing the Labour party, for their joint efforts at providing medical treatment to survivors of sexual violence in DR Congo and contributing to setting and keeping the issue on the global agenda. (Mukwege is also nominated by several others.)