President Obama on Friday won the Nobel Peace Prize, a stunning choice of an official who had been in office for less than two weeks before this year’s nomination deadline.
Obama won the prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced, saying it had “attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama woke up to the news a little before 6 a.m. EDT. The White House had no immediate comment on the announcement, which took the administration by surprise.
Commanders In Peace: The White House Laureates
The list of Nobel Peace Prize laureates now includes three sitting U.S. presidents and one former president. The Norwegian Nobel Committee also has recognized one sitting vice president and one former vice president.
2009: President Barack Obama, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
2007: Former Vice President Al Gore, shared 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.”
2002: Former President Jimmy Carter, “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.”
1925: Vice President Charles Gates Dawes, for his work as chairman of a League of Nations commission that made recommendations in 1924 on how to handle questions about German reparations after World War I (the “Dawes Plan”). Dawes shared the 1925 prize with British Foriegn Secretary Austen Chamberlain, who was honored for efforts to promote Franco-German reconciliation through the Locarno Pact of 1925.
1919: President Woodrow Wilson, for founding the League of Nations.
1906: President Teddy Roosevelt, for his work on various various peace treaties.
Source: The Nobel Foundation
Obama becomes the third sitting president — and the first since Woodrow Wilson in 1919 — to win the prize. Theodore Roosevelt won the award in 1906. Former President Jimmy Carter won in 2002, and former Vice President Al Gore won in 2007.