The Nobel Peace Prize and the PRIO Director’s shortlist

Each year, PRIO’s Director presents his own shortlist for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Director offers his opinion on the most likely laureates, based on his independent assessment. The PRIO Director’s view on the most likely Nobel Peace Prize laureates is widely covered by international media, and it has been offered since 2002.

While PRIO’s Director may be a relevant commentator on the issue, his shortlist does not confirm, nor formally 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.  

The Nobel Committee bases its decision on valid nominations received by the 1 February deadline. Anyone can be nominated, but only certain individuals, holding positions set forth in Alfred Nobel’s testament, are in a position to nominate candidates. The Director of PRIO holds such a position, but refrains from making nominations given his active role as a commentator.

Henrik Syse, a highly valued PRIO researcher, was appointed member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in December 2014. PRIO Director Henrik Urdal and Henrik Syse are committed to a watertight separation between them on all issues related to the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Syse is appointed to the Nobel Committee in a personal capacity, and will perform his committee duties – maintaining his archives and his IT-platform – in distinct separation from his work at PRIO. The Nobel Peace Prize is widely respected as the world’s most important prize, not least thanks to the committee’s ability to act independently and with integrity.

The PRIO Director’s shortlist generates considerable international interest. The debate about what peace is, and how our understandings of what contributes to peace changes over time, is at the core of the institute’s mission (see the Director's ‘Why Speculate on the Nobel Peace Prize’ blog post). This also includes opinions on possible laureates, and assessment of the criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize and the committee’s work on the interpretation of those (for more on the latter, you may also have a look at In the PRIO Director’s opinion, this can only serve to further strengthen the world’s most prestigious prize.