Photo: Getty Images/Pascal le Segretain
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the European Union on Friday, prompting much criticism throughout the world. But this isn’t the first time the Peace Prize Committee has picked a controversial winner — their have been a handful of them, including former Presidents who have declared wars, an international body that did not act in the wake of a genocide, and an alleged terrorist
President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize less than a year into his first term as President, 'for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.'
As Michael Lewis put it in his recent Vanity Fair profile on President Obama: 'in receiving a prize for peace, speaking to an audience primed for pacifism, he'd made the case for war.'
The Nobel Peace Prize committee awarded Yasir Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin the prize in 1994 'for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East.'
While Arafat publicly repudiated acts of terrorism, many believed that he helped finance acts of terror as chairman of the Palestinian Liberation organisation, before and after he won the award.
Woodrow Wilson won the prize in 1920 for his work in helping to form the League of Nations, which failed to stop World War II and was defunct within 20 years.
He was President when the U.S. entered World War I, and during the negotiations for the Peace of Paris, he sacrificed many of his 'Fourteen Points' to achieve the League, which the United States never joined.
President Roosevelt won the award in 1906 for helping to prevent a war between Russia and Japan for acting as a mediator and helping to bring an end to the Russo-Japanese war.
Roosevelt was a soldier in the army as well, one of the commanders of the 'Rough Riders' which fought in the Spanish-American war.
While Roosevelt tried to avoid the use of force as a primary measure in diplomacy, it was he who said, 'speak softly, but carry a big stick.'
While the former president loved nature, he was also an avid hunter (and he allegedly hunted endangered animals).
Kofi Annan and the U.N. were jointly awarded the prize in 2001 'for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world.'
However, some criticised the choice due to the U.N.'s perceived lack of response to genocides in Rwanda and the Balkans in the 1990s.
Menchu, a Guatemalan human rights activist, won the prize in 1991 for 'recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.'
While her work shed light on the horrors of the Guatemalan Civil War, in 1999 the credibility of her memoirs was seriously brought into question.
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