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Nobel Peace Prize in the U.S.: Who Has Won and For What

By Neetal Parekh | Last updated on
If you were surprised when former Vice President Al Gore was awarded a Nobel Peace prize for his work to bring attention to global warming, this week's news of President Obama receiving the global honor may also have you wondering about who else has won and what the selection process is like.

First, some facts about the Nobel Peace Prize:

  • the Nobel Peace prize has been awarded annually since 1901
  • nominations are due 8 months before winners are announced, on February 1st of each year.
  • selection is made by an independent committee, made of elected members.
  • nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize can be submitted by former laureates, members of national assemblies and governments, current and former members of the selection committee and their staffs, certain university professors and academics, leaders of peace research and foreign affairs institutes, members of international courts of laws.
  • candidate names are not revealed and records remained sealed for 50 years.

Who from the U.S. has been awarded the Nobel Peace prize, and for what?

1. Theodore Roosevelt, then-President won in 1906. He drafted the 1905 peace treaty between Russian and Japan.

2. Elihu Root, former Secretary of State won in 1912.  He initiated several arbitration agreements.

3. Woodrow Wilson, then-President won in 1919. He founded the League of Nations and drafted the 14 Points Peace plan.

4. Charles G. Dawes, then Vice-President won in 1925 jointly with Sir Austen Chamberlain.  He was Chairman of the Allied Reparation Commission and drafted the Dawes Plan, to stabilize and restore Germany's economy.

5. Frank B. Kellogg, former Secretary of State won in 1929.  He negotiated the Briand-Kellogg Pact that prohibited war as "an instrument of national policy".

6. Jane Addams, won in 1931 jointly with Nicholas Murray Butler.  She was the International President of the Women's international League for Peace and Freedom.

7. Nicholas Murray Butler, won in 1931 jointly with Jane Addams.  He was the President of Columbia University and promoted the Briand-Kellogg Pact.

8. Cordell Hull, former Secretary of State won in 1945.  He helped establish the United Nations.

9. Emily Greene Balch, won in 1946 jointly with John Mott.  She was President of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

10. John R. Mott, won in 1946 jointly with Emily Balch. He was the Chairman of the first International Missionary Council in 1910.

11. Ralph Bunche, won in 1950.  He was Director of the UN Division of Trusteeship and mediator in Palestine in 1948.

12. George C. Marshall, former Secretary of State and former Secretary of Defense won in 1953.  He originated the Marshall Plan, to rebuild Western Europe and resist communism.

13. Linus Pauling, won in 1962.  He wa a chemist who campaigned for an end to nuclear weapons tests.

14. Martin Luther King Jr., won in 1964.  He led the African American civil rights movement in the U.S.

15. Normal Borlaug, won in 1970.  He was an agronomist who made agricultural discoveries credited for saving over a billion lives.

16. Henry Kissinger, won in 1973 jointly with Le Duc Tho of Vietnam for working to end U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

17. Elie Wiesel, won in 1986.  He is an author, Holocaust survivor, and peace activist.

18. Jody Williams, won  in 1997 jointly with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). She is teacher and aid worker and campaign ambassador for ICBL.

19. Jimmy Carter, former President won in 2002.  Following his presidency he founded the Carter Center to advocate human rights work, is a key figure for Habitat for Humanity, and continues to contribute to international peace-keeping initiatives.

20. Al Gore, former Vice President won in 2007 jointly with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  Awarded for research and education "about man-made climate change" and for "lay[ing] the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

21. Barack Obama, now-President wins in 2009 for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" with special mention to his work and vision to reduce nuclear weapons.


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