A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize may be submitted by any person who meets the nomination criteria. A letter of invitation to submit is not required. The names of the nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later.
Process of nomination and selection
The Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. The Committee is composed of five members appointed by the Storting (Norwegian parliament). The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway, not in Stockholm, Sweden, where the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and the Economics Prize are awarded.
Who is eligible for the Prize
The candidates eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize are those submitted by qualified nominators (see below). No one can nominate himself or herself.
How are the Nobel Laureates selected?
A brief description of the process involved in selecting the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates:
September – The Norwegian Nobel Committee prepares to receive nominations.These nominations will be submitted by members of national assemblies, governments, and international courts of law; university chancellors, professors of social science, history, philosophy, law and theology; leaders of peace research institutes and institutes of foreign affairs; previous Nobel Peace Prize Laureates; board members of organizations that have received the Nobel Peace Prize; present and past members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; and former advisers of the Norwegian Nobel Institute.
February – Deadline for submission. The Committee bases its assessment on nominations that must be postmarked no later than 1 February each year. Nominations postmarked and received after this date are included in the following year’s discussions. In recent years, the Committee has received close to 200 different nominations for different nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. The number of nominating letters is much higher, as many are for the same candidates.
February-March – Short list. The Committee assesses the candidates’ work and prepares a short list.
March-August – Adviser review.
October – Nobel Laureates are chosen. At the beginning of October, the Nobel Committee chooses the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates through a majority vote. The decision is final and without appeal. The names of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates are then announced.
December – Nobel Laureates receive their prize. The Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony takes place on 10 December in Oslo, Norway, where the Nobel Laureates receive their Nobel Prize, which consists of a Nobel Medal and Diploma, and a document confirming the prize amount.
Are the nominations made public?
The statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years. The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as investigations and opinions related to the award of a prize.
Who may nominate candidates for the Peace Prize?
According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, a nomination is considered valid if it is submitted by a person who falls within one of the following categories:
• 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; (proposals by members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after February 1)
• Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee
The candidates eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize are those persons or organizations nominated by qualified individuals, see above. A nomination for yourself will not be taken into consideration.
In order to remain open to the various ways in which the qualities of a candidate may be conveyed, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has not introduced a special nomination submission form. The nomination need not be lengthy, but should include:
• the name of the candidate,
• an explanation of why the individual or organisation is considered by the nominator to be a worthy candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize,
• and the name, title and academic or professional affiliation of the nominator.
Common ways of submitting nominations are e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post (The Norwegian Nobel Committee, Henrik Ibsens gate 51, 0255 Oslo, NORWAY).
Deadline for nominations
The Nobel Committee makes its selection on the basis of nominations received or postmarked no later than February 1 of the year in question. Nominations which do not meet the deadline are normally included in the following year’s assessment. Members of the Nobel Committee are entitled to submit their own nominations as late as at the first meeting of the Committee after the expiry of the deadline.
A letter or e-mail confirming the receipt and validity of the submitted nomination is normally sent out within a couple of months of the submission deadline.
At the first meeting of the Nobel Committee after the February 1 deadline for nominations, the Committee’s Permanent Secretary presents the list of the year’s candidates. The Committee may on that occasion add further names to the list, after which the nomination process is closed, and discussion of the particular candidates begins. In the light of this first review, the Committee draws up the so-called short list – i.e. the list of candidates selected for more thorough consideration. The short list typically contains from twenty to thirty candidates.
The candidates on the short list are then considered by the Nobel Institute’s permanent advisers. In addition to the Institute’s Director and Research Director, the body of advisers generally consists of a small group of Norwegian university professors with broad expertise in subject areas with a bearing on the Peace Prize. The advisers usually have a couple of months in which to draw up their reports. Reports are also occasionally requested from other Norwegian and foreign experts.
When the advisers’ reports have been presented, the Nobel Committee embarks on a thorough-going discussion of the most likely candidates. In the process, the need often arises to obtain additional information and updates about candidates from additional experts, often foreign. As a rule, the Committee reaches a decision only at its very last meeting before the announcement of the Prize at the beginning of October.
The Committee seeks to achieve unanimity in its selection of the Peace Prize Laureate. On the rare occasions when this proves impossible, the selection is decided by a simple majority vote.
50 year secrecy rule
The Committee does not itself announce the names of nominees, neither to the media nor to the candidates themselves. In so far as certain names crop up in the advance speculations as to who will be awarded any given year’s Prize, this is either sheer guesswork or information put out by the person or persons behind the nomination. Information in the Nobel Committee’s nomination database is not made public until after fifty years.