"It is not sufficient to be worthy of respect in order to be respected."
– Alfred Nobel
The Nobel Peace Prize has been around for 112 years. First awarded in 1901, the prize includes $1.24 million in cash and the prestige that goes to those awarded it.
The deadline for submitting nominees was February 1 but we'll have to wait until October 12 until the Nobel Peace Prize Committee makes their choice. Last year's winner was the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. President Barrack Obama won the award in 2009.
This year more than 278 candidates, including 48 organizations, received nominations. Among them: Pope Francis, former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' rights to education.
Don't expect to read a list of all 278 nominees anytime soon. As a matter of policy the committee keeps the list secret for half a century. However, those who submit nominations are free to publicize their choices and many do.
According to Nobel Foundation statutes, 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; and Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
It seems that every year some people scratch their heads and wonder why a certain person or group was nominated. The nomination that is sure to shake a lot of heads this year is Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Anyone following world news knows that Russia recently seized control of Ukraine's Crimea region after President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted and fled that country's capital. The Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula has been called the most serious confrontation between Moscow and the West since the end of the Cold War.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's troops took control of much of the important strategic area on the Black Sea where Russian speakers are in the majority. The international incident threatens to get worse before it gets better.
The International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World was Putin's nominator. According to them, Putin "actively promotes settlement of all conflicts arising on the planet."
They must have forgotten the leader's actions in the violent campaign against the separatists in Chechnya or the war he waged on Georgia, or the fact that Russia is the main supplier of weapons to Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. What the group cited on the nomination was Putin's efforts to prevent a US air strike on the Syrian regime following a chemical gas attack in August.
The Nobel committee will be narrowing their list to about a dozen by the end of April.
Let's hope that the committee is paying attention to the turmoil in Ukraine and considers Putin's entire record.
Many noted journalists have written over the last few years that the Nobel Peace Prize is losing its prestige.
What would Alfred think?