Trump, Thunberg are dominating Nobel talk - but this low-key group is in with a shot

Greta Thunberg (Getty)
Greta Thunberg (Getty)

In a year when US President Donald Trump and climate activist Greta Thunberg stand as the most talked about nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize, a more low-key candidate such as a trio of youth peace activists could very well walk off with the world’s most coveted prize.

Hajer Sharief, Ilwad Elman and Nathan Law Kwun-chung top the shortlist for potential winners of this year’s Nobel Peace prize, the Peace Research Institute Oslo said in annual predictions. Reporters Without Borders and the Control Arms Coalition are also among potential winners, according to PRIO Director Henrik Urdal.

"Young people are setting the agenda on issues of critical importance for peace and security both locally and globally, challenging established narratives and generational power dynamics," Urdal said at a press briefing in Oslo. The key challenge for awarding the prize to Thunberg is whether or not climate change is related to armed conflict, he said.

PRIO handicaps the winners ahead of the prize, which is announced in October each year. The group last year had the eventual winners, Denis Mukwege, a Congolese doctor, and Nadia Murad, a global advocate against sexual violence, among its top picks.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has received 301 nominations from around the world this year. Trump and Thunberg were both put forward by Norwegian lawmakers from competing sides of the political spectrum.

Trump, currently facing the threat of impeachment over a whistle-blower complaint alleging he abused his power when he asked Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Joe Biden, said at a press conference in New York this week that he should get the “Nobel Prize for a lot of things if they gave it out fairly, which they don’t.”

Open nominations

Nominations are open to lawmakers, academics and researchers from around the world. The Nobel Committee in Oslo typically receives hundreds of nominations each year, and past candidates have also included Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and actress Susan Sarandon.

Past presidents have won the prize, including Barack Obama, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Former Vice President Al Gore shared the award in 2007 with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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