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Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Nobel committee, announces the 2019 Prize
2019 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

This year’s Nobel peace prize really has gone to a peacemaker

By Rashmee Roshan Lall

The 2019 Nobel peace prize has been awarded to Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for working to end almost two decades of conflict with neighboring Eritrea.

Ethiopia's prime minister Abiy Ahmed at a rally in the Oromiya region in April 2018
Tiksa Negeri/ Reuters
Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed at a rally in the Oromiya region in April 2018

The chair of the Nobel prize committee said the award is “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.”

Ahmed was one of the favorites to win this year’s Peace Prize from a list—301 candidates—that included Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist. Bookies put him in second place.

The list of candidates for the peace prize is kept secret but nominators sometimes let slip the names of their candidates. They included Raoni Metuktire, the Brazilian environmentalist who led a campaign to protect the Amazon, and Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand. Reporters Without Borders and the United Nations Human Rights Council were among the 78 organizations on the list.

The Nobel peace prize has been awarded 99 times to 133 Nobel Laureates—106 individuals and 27 organizations—between 1901 and 2018.

Over the years, questions have been raised about whether the Norwegian Nobel committee should not only announce this year’s winner but also this year’s loser by rescinding past awards to those who are no longer deserving. Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger often feature on that ignominious list of the undeserving.

You can read all of Quartz’s coverage of the 2019 Nobel Prizes here.