Today, Friday, October 7, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos was named 2016’s Nobel Peace Price recipient. The committee bestowed the honor on Santos “for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.”
As reported by The New York Times, the announcement comes less than a week after Colombians voted to reject a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The treaty was meant to signal the end of a bloody, 52-year conflict between the nation and the rebel group. After President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez came together to sign the deal following four years of negotiations, all that was needed to move the plan forward was a vote from the Colombian people. In a shocking development, the agreement was stricken down by a slim majority of 50.2 percent.
The future of the South American nation remains uncertain, but the Nobel Prize committee stresses that the news shouldn’t be seen as the defeat of peace. While that specific agreement has been discarded, President Santos—who was elected in 2010—hasn’t given up his goal of progressing towards peace.
The committee said in a press statement, “The Norwegian Nobel Committee emphasizes the importance of the fact that President Santos is now inviting all parties to participate in a broad-based national dialogue aimed at advancing the peace process.” In addition to recognizing President Santos's commitment to peace, the award is meant to pay tribute to all parties fighting for peace in Colombia, to the citizens who’ve yet to give up hope of achieving it, and "not least, to the representatives of the countless victims of the civil war.”