How Does the Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Process Work?

Alfred Nobel on the front of the Nobel Peace Prize medal.
Alfred Nobel on the front of the Nobel Peace Prize medal. / European Parliament, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Every year, the Norwegian Nobel Committee creates a short list of about 20 to 30 Nobel Peace Prize candidates that they pass along to the Nobel Institute advisers, who compile reports on each person. In early October, once the Committee members have thoroughly studied and discussed those reports, they choose a winner. Though the group always tries to come to a unanimous consensus, they will decide by majority vote if need be.

But before any of that happens, candidates must be nominated. How does that happen? As The Balance Everyday explains, nominations only count if they come from certain people: national government officials; university professors or presidents; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes; members of organizations like The International Court of Justice in The Hague and The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague; international board members of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; or basically anybody affiliated with the Norwegian Nobel Committee (former advisers, current or former members, actual winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, etc.).

As long as you fall into one of those categories, you can nominate any person you deem worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize—except for yourself. After you fill out an online form with some basic personal information, including your name, institution, email address, and physical address, you’ll receive an email outlining how to submit your nomination. If you want your candidate to be considered for the prize the same year you enter them, you have to complete the process by midnight on January 31. If you miss the deadline, they’ll go into the next year’s nomination pool.

The entire operation is highly confidential, and the Nobel Foundation forbids the Committee from revealing the nominees (or even the nominators) until 50 years have passed. That said, there’s nothing preventing nominators from divulging those details themselves.

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