To know for sure if Donald Trump, Pope Francis, or anyone else is really a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, you’re going to have to wait 50 years, or until they win.
If speculations pan out, Alfred Nobel, the man who invented dynamite and left the bulk of his wealth to establish prizes for peace, physics, chemistry, medicine, and literature may have a volatile mix of candidates for the 2016 peace prize.
Rumor has it that Pope Francis, whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Afghan women's cycling team, Donald Trump and Greek islanders who are aiding hundreds of thousands of migrants, are among those who may have been nominated for the prize. The catch is that the process is so secretive that it is nearly impossible to be certain if Mr. Trump’s announcement is a hoax.
“We do not confirm or give listing of those nominated, so all of that information comes from elsewhere. It’s not from us,” Maria von Konow, Nobel Peace Prize communications manager, says in a phone interview from Stockholm. “It could be the nominators themselves. They are free to do as they wish, but we can never deny or say whether someone is nominated or not for 50 years later. They can never know for certain, so what you are reading it is pretty much rumor-based.”
Nonetheless, news reports indicate that Kristian Berg Harpviken, the director of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO), told the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) that he had received a copy of the nomination letter, “suggesting Trump – who drew criticism from around the world for his vow to ban Muslims entering the United States – should be awarded the prestigious prize for ‘his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China.”
But Trump did not make the cut on Mr. Harpviken's published short list of Peace Prize nominations, based on his own speculations. Those on Harpviken's list include US NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden; US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, for their work on the Iran nuclear deal; Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Timoleón Jiménez, and Thelma Aldana for their Colombian-FARC peace process involvement; Aura Elena Farfán, Iván Velásquez, Jeanne Nacatche Banyere, and Jeannette Kahindo Bindu for their work in Guatemala; and Congolese surgeon Dr. Denis Mukwege.
Ms. Murad became a spokesperson for those who escaped from sexual slavery at the hands of IS. Dr. Mukwege treats victims of sexual violence from the Congolese civil war.
"We want a peace prize that can awaken the world to the fight against sexual violence as a weapon of war," Lysbakken, the leader of Norway's Socialist Left Party, wrote in a statement.
The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee typically receives hundreds of nominations for the prestigious prize, and keeps candidates secret for 50 years. Panel members can make their own nominations during their first judging meeting on Feb. 29.
The difficulty level of getting nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize is up for debate.
“Some special people are qualified to nominate. How difficult it is to be nominated, there is no way you can tell,” Ms. Konow says.
Those qualified to nominate include: Members of national assemblies and governments of states; Members of international courts; university rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes; persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; board members of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
“I mean obviously you have to be known to someone who is able to nominate otherwise you can be a perfect candidate for the prize,” Konow adds. “But if you’re not known to anyone with the power of nominating it’s not possible to get the award, of course.”