President Obama Joins Nobel Peace Laureates

October 9, 2009: U.S. President Barack Obama is named the 2009 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” In a speech in the White House Rose Garden, President Obama says that he is “surprised and deeply humbled” by the selection, and that he will “accept this award as a call to action.” Here’s a look at some other notable figures who have been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in the past.

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2008: Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, wins “for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts.”

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2007: Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore wins with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”

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2006: Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, who founded Grameen Brank and developed the concept of microcredit, wins the Peace Prize with his bank “for advancing economic and social opportunities for the poor, especially women.”


2005: Mohamed ElBaradei of Egypt, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, wins with the IAEA “for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way.”


2004: Wangari Muta Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, wins “for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.”

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2003: Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi wins “for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children.”


2002: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter wins for “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” Carter is the only U.S. president to win a Nobel Peace Prize after leaving office.


2001: Ghanaian diplomat and seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan wins, with the U.N. itself, “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.”

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2000: Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung gets the Prize “for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular.”


1994: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin (pictured), Israeli President Shimon Peres, and President of the Palestinian National Authority Yasser Arafat win “for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East.”

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1993: The last President of apartheid-era South Africa, Frederik Willem de Klerk, and the first democratically elected South African President, Nelson Mandela (pictured), win “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”

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1990: President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev gets the award “for his leading role in the peace process which today characterizes important parts of the international community.” Gorbachev’s reforms to the USSR helped end the Cold War, and bring about the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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1989: The 14th Dalai Lama is awarded the Peace Prize for “his struggle for the liberation of Tibet” and consistent opposition to “the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.”

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1986: Writer, political activist, and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel wins for his “practical work in the cause of peace,” and for his role as a “messenger to mankind,” who promotes “peace, atonement and human dignity.”


1984: South African archbishop and political activist Desmond Tutu becomes the second South African to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as a human rights activist, and his campaigns against AIDS, poverty, and racism.

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1979: Renowned Roman Catholic nun Mother Teresa is awarded the Peace Prize for her humanitarian work.

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1978: Then Egyptian President Anwar Al-Sadat (pictured) and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin win for negotiating the Camp David Accords, which resulted in the Israel Defense Forces’ withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, and the return of Egyptian territories captured during the Six-Day War.


1964: Martin Luther King, Jr. wins for his leadership in the civil rights movement in the U.S., which stressed civil disobedience in the fight against racial discrimination and segregation. King was then the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize.

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1919: Then U.S. President Woodrow Wilson is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in forming the League of Nations, and helping shape the Treaty of Versailles after World War I.

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1906: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt wins the Prize for successfully negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese war.

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