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2016 Nobel Peace Prize: contenders and potential winners

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2016 Nobel Peace Prize: contenders and potential winners


The Nobel Peace Prize winner will be announced this Friday in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

Officially kept secret and not revealed by the Committee until 50 years later, predicting the winner is always tricky.

That task is unlikely to get any easier this year with judges having to choose between 376 nominated candidates and organisations for the award – a record.

Last year German Chancellor Angela Merkel was touted to scope the dovish gong for her response to Europe’s migrant crisis.

Instead, the Nobel Committee surprised many by awarding the prize to The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet in recognition for their work in helping the country’s transition to democracy.

While this year’s nominees are said to include Donald Trump, below are some of the candidates being strongly tipped to win this years award.

Svetlana Gannushkina

The Russian mathematician and human rights activist is considered a frontrunner for this year’s peace prize.

Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (Prio), which releases its own list of potential winners, has made her one of the favourites.

Gannushkina is founder of the Civic Assistance Committee, a group which provides legal aid, education and assistance to migrants and refugees. The organisation says it has helped over 50,000 people since 1990s.

The White Helmets

During the last five years of civil war, the Syria Civil Defence, a corps of first responders known for their characteristic white helmets, have rescued tens of thousands of people from Syria’s battlefields.

The near 3000 volunteer group frequently put their own lives on the line when pulling people out of the ruins.

The group recently featured in a Netflix documentary and a campaign backing them for the Nobel prize has received more than 200,000 signatures.

They were also hailed for saving a 5-year old boy covered in blood and dust from Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, which has become an iconic image from the war.

Negotiators of the Iranian nuclear deal

Since the signing of last year’s deal over Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, relations between the West and Tehran have continued to thaw.

US energy secretary Ernest Moniz and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization in Iran, key players during the nuclear deal’s negotiation, are thought to have a strong chance in winning this year’s peace prize.

Other potential winners and contenders

Pope Francis
No pope has ever won the prize, but Francis is seen as a possible contender. Since becoming Pope he has been recognised for his strong stance on several issues, notably refugees, poverty and climate change.

Greek islanders

Greece has been on the frontline of Europe’s migrant crisis. Islanders on Lesbos – to name just one of the isles – have been nominated for opening their homes to Syrian refugees in spite of their own economic hardship caused by their country’s chronic financial problems.

Edward Snowden

A divisive figure, the former NSA whistleblower is apparently shortlisted for 2016 award. Supporters describe him as patriot who helped expose government spying. Despite that, Snowden remains in exile in Russia, facing espionage charges back home in the US.

Colombian peace accord

Until Colombian voters decided on Sunday to reject a peace treaty to end a 52-year war with Farc rebels, many thought the decision facing the Nobel Committee would be an easy one. But the prospect of the award going to Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos and Farc’s Rodrigo Londono, (known as Timochenko) is now seen as highly unlikely.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Despite facing a significant political backlash at home, notably in recent local elections, the German leader has also been praised for her handling of Europe’s refugee crisis, allowing hundreds of thousands of migrants to enter the EU.

The winning individual or group will be announced on Friday 11am CET, which you can watch live on Euronews.

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