In 1964 it was Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1984 it was Desmond Tutu. In 1993 it was Nelson Mandela. In 2009 it was the 44th President of the United States – Barack Obama. What do all of these men have in common? These men have all won the Nobel Peace Prize. President Obama is only one of three sitting U.S. presidents to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and one of four U.S. presidents overall. The others were Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Jimmy Carter.
Exactly one week prior to President Obama receiving the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize he was criticized for taking a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark in hopes to assist in bringing the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. It was a bid that turned out to be a defeat not just for Chicago but for America, but hey, you have a Nobel Peace Prize to add to your list of achievements… not a bad October so far, Mr. President.
Not even one year into his reign as president, Mr. Obama has been seen and heard throughout the world in various forums. Perhaps the most interesting thing about winning the Nobel Peace Prize for President Obama is that as CNN reports Obama was not selected for his accomplishments but for his vision and inspiring hope. Having Mr. Obama as president has done more than give African-Americans hope, it has given the world hope… hope that things can change. If you remember his campaign slogan, it comprised of three simple words… “yes we can.”
In a world where it’s not always safe for children to go to school, for working parents to have adequate healthcare, for different races and ethnicities to get along in the same environment… we need hope, we need a vision of a better future. It was that hope that caused Dr. Martin Luther King to stand up for what he believed in decades ago and caused a race to begin the road to freedom. There was a vision for freedom, and more importantly, there was corresponding action.
This isn’t just about a medal of honor, but a vision worth fighting for. People and organizations who have won the Nobel Peace Prize have done something worth fighting for, living for, and dying for. The average person will never win a prize as prestigious as the Nobel Peace Prize, but the average person can ignite change in a community, in a block, in a house. What are you hoping for? What do you envision?
All Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
Obama awarded 2009 Nobel Peace Prize
Obama unique among presidential Nobel winners