Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai, who shares this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with India’s Kailash Satyarthi, had to wait until the end of the school day before making her first public statement. “This is not the end … I want to see every child going to school and getting an education.” Kailash Satyarthi, who has been marching and working on behalf of children for three decades, echoed the sentiment: “A lot of work still remains but I will see the end of child labor in my lifetime.” One recipient is 17, one is 60. Both fight for the human rights of children. Both have regularly risked their lives for the cause. And both want the award to improve relations between their countries, starting with their decision to invite the prime ministers of India and Pakistan to attend the prize ceremony.
The New Yorker: “Both of these people deserved the award individually. The combination of the two laureates gives it a nuanced character — and a different kind of power than if it had gone to either of them alone.”
+ Malala celebrated her sixteenth birthday by giving a remarkable speech at the UN.
+ “In the paper we read she is favorite for the Nobel Peace Prize. My son is astonished. ‘How can she win?’ he asks. ‘She’s always fighting with her brother!’” Christina Lamb in The Sunday Times: My year with Malala.
From Errol Morris and the NY Times, Three Short Films about Peace. Morris interviewed Nobel Prize winners and nominees Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, the former Polish president Lech Walesa and rock star Bob Geldof.
I interviewed five of the world’s greatest peacemakers, and chose to feature the three who told the most compelling stories on camera. But it was a privilege to meet and to interview every one of them. David Trimble, whose participation in the Good Friday Agreement helped bring an end to Northern Ireland’s Troubles, and Oscar Arias Sanchez, who brokered the Esquipulas peace agreement that ended decades of internecine strife in Central America, were no less inspiring than the three included here.
It’s the easiest thing to say: that each of these stories is inspiring. They are. I was inspired by them. Can one person make a difference? In most cases, no. But every now and again something seemingly miraculous happens. And one person changes the world. Or as Bob Geldof puts it, tilts the world on its axis.
Signs of progress and setbacks in addressing climate change at the conclusion of Nobel Laureate Al Gore’s annus mirabilis. From Al Gore’s Nobel lecture:
However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.”
So today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.
The full text of Gore’s lecture is here.
Doris Lessing’s reaction after winning of the 2007 Nobel Prize for literature:
Oh Christ! … I couldn’t care less.
Everyone plays the media’s game these days, so it’s nice to see someone who doesn’t.
Al Gore won a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for what is essentially a PowerPoint presentation. More info here.
Update: Yes, yes, I know Al Gore uses Keynote and not Powerpoint. Hence the “essentially”. (thx, everyone in the world)
Update: Amazingly, Al Gore now has an Emmy, an Oscar, and now a Nobel Prize. All he needs is a Grammy for the full Gore. (thx, brent)
Update: Man, you folks are testy today. When I say that Gore won a Nobel Prize for a Powerpoint presentation (again, “essentially”), I’m not being derogatory towards Gore. I like Gore…I’ve written several posts about him. But whatever his other accomplishments regarding the environment, he won the Nobel for An Inconvenient Truth. No movie, no prize. Period. Suppose someone had told you two years ago that someone would win a Nobel Peace Prize for a Hollywood film of a Powerpoint presentation…you’d have laughed in their face and every other part of their body!
Winning the Nobel Prize gets you more than $1 million…and two extra years of life.
Muhammad Yunus, who came up with the idea of microcredit, received his Nobel Peace Prize yesterday. His Nobel lecture is available in text and video formats.