Alva Myrdal


Alva Myrdal

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Alva Myrdal
The Nobel Peace Prize 1982

Born: 31 January 1902, Uppsala, Sweden

Died: 1 February 1986, Stockholm, Sweden

Residence at the time of the award: Sweden

Role: Diplomat, former Cabinet Minister, Writer

Prize motivation: "for their work for disarmament and nuclear and weapon-free zones."

Prize share: 1/2

Disarmament and Nuclear Weapons-Free Zones

Alva Myrdal already had an extensive career behind her when she was elected to the Swedish "riksdag" (legislative assembly) in 1962. She had studied philology and pedagogy, and in the inter-war years devoted herself to improving the conditions of the working class through the Social Democrat Party. She also made a name for herself as a campaigner for women's rights.

After World War II, Alva Myrdal held prominent posts in the United Nations system, hand-picked by the Secretary-General. She was among other things head of UNESCO's social science section. From 1955 she was Swedish Ambassador to India.

It was, however, as the government minister in charge of disarmament issues that Alva Myrdal really stood out as an innovator. As the representative of a non-aligned Sweden, she worked actively to persuade the superpowers to disarm. The nuclear race was a major concern, and she fought for nuclear weapons-free zones in Europe. Each individual country ought to take the initiative and ban nuclear arms on its territory.

Copyright © The Norwegian Nobel Institute

To cite this section
MLA style: Alva Myrdal – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2021. Sat. 23 Oct 2021. <>

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