British people tend to think the Nobel Peace Prize is less prestigious than it used to be – and Nobel Laureates from decades ago are deemed the most deserving
The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is announced on Friday. The prize, established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel, was originally designed to be awarded “to champions of peace” but has come under criticism for deviating from its original mandate in recent years. Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) won the award in 2007 for their work on climate change; meanwhile Barack Obama was awarded the Peace Prize in 2009, whilst the USA was still fighting two wars. Last year’s prize was awarded to the European Union.
The British public tend to think the award is becoming less prestigious and the most recent Laureates are among the least popular.
40% feel that the award has become less prestigious than it used to be. Although reassuringly for the committee, a further 32% feel it has always been prestigious and still is. 8% feel it was never prestigious and just 2% think it has become more prestigious.
When asked which of the past recipients were most deserving, Laureates from the 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s topped the list.
Mother Theresa is considered the most deserving (37%), closely followed by civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. (33%). The joint honour of Nelson Mandela and Frederick de Klerk for their work in abolishing apartheid is third with 21%. Aung San Syu Kyi (14%), Desmond Tutu (13%) and the Dalai Lama (12%) round off the top six.
The more recent controversial awards may well have contributed to the public’s view of the prize. Obama (2009), Al Gore (2007) and the EU (2012) were judged amongst the least deserving, polling 4%, 4% and 3% respectively.