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Kim? Trump? Nobel Peace Prize: Many names, few certainties

  • Looking at the odds on some of the online betting sites, you might think North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in were the front-runners for their efforts at rapprochement between the two nations.
    President Trump Eighteen Republican lawmakers wrote to the Nobel committee in May to nominate President Trump for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize “in recognition of his work to end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula and bring peace to the region.” So, for much the same reason as Moon and Kim are favorites for the prize, Trump is too. Looking at the odds on some of the online betting sites, you might think North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in were the front-runners for their efforts at rapprochement between the two nations.
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Donald Trump? Hardly. Reconciliation between the Koreas? Rather premature. Peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea? Probably missed the deadline. As the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize looms, it’s easier to rule out names than guess who’s going to win.

On Friday, the winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced by the Nobel committee in Oslo. The award is given each year to the person or group that has done the most to advance world peace.

Last year the winner was the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 23rd organization (as opposed to individual) to win the prize since its establishment in 1901.

This year, there are 331 nominees for the prize, of which 216 are individuals and 115 are groups, according to the Nobel committee. It’s the second-highest number of candidates ever, after the year 2016.

The selection process is heavily guarded before Friday’s unveiling and the nominees aren’t made public. But that hasn’t stopped people from guessing who’s in the running.

Here is a selection of oddsmakers’ favorites for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize — with the caveat that the committee is very rarely predictable in its choice of laureate:

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in
North Korea’s spate of nuclear weapon and missile tests in 2017 left relations between the two Koreas perhaps at their lowest ebb since the Korean War of 1950-53. Now, thanks in part to their leaders, the North’s Kim Jong-un and the South’s Moon Jae-in, the countries have taken tentative steps toward nuclear disarmament. Just last month, Kim pledged to denuclearize under the supervision of foreign inspectors.

But the Nobel committee might find it hard to overlook the UN’s assessment that Kim’s regime is also currently committing widespread “crimes against humanity,” including torture, starvation and executions in prison camps. Nevertheless, the pair are the clear favorites for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

President Trump
Eighteen Republican lawmakers wrote to the Nobel committee in May to nominate President Trump for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize “in recognition of his work to end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula and bring peace to the region.” So, for much the same reason as Moon and Kim are favorites for the prize, Trump is too.

U.S. Presidents have received the prize before in office — most recently, Barack Obama in 2009. And few argue with the role Trump played in bringing Kim to the table following a spate of brinkmanship where he threatened to meet the North Korean dictator’s threats against the U.S. with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The British oddsmaker Ladbrokes is offering odds of 5/2 for him to win, either alone or together with others.

This year the field of possibilities facing the five members of the Norwegian committee tasked with awarding the prize was pretty wide, with 331 individuals and organizations proposed for the prestigious prize, which will be announced on Friday in Oslo.

And, as usual, despite the fact the list of candidates is a secret, predictions about who might win are gathering pace.

With the postponement of this year’s Literature Prize for the first time in 70 years over a #MeToo scandal at the Swedish Academy, Friday’s peace award has become the most highly anticipated Nobel announcement this year.