Each year, the Nobel Peace Prize reminds us to view peace through a positive lens. The prize celebrates extraordinary individuals and organisations that have gone above and beyond their station to improve the state of peace. In a year plagued by violence and conflict, many have questioned whether the peace prize should be awarded at all. In spite of this, 2014 has seen a record number of contenders, with over 250 nominations for this prestigious award.
The Nobel Peace Prize has a rich and storied history. Controversy has shrouded the award for decades, going back to the selection of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1973. Other previous winners include Yasser Arafat (1994) and Barack Obama (2009).
The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) has published a list of confirmed candidates for 2014, leading to speculation and conjecture amongst pundits.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, better known as Pope Francis, is considered by many as the favourite for the 2014 prize. The pontiff finds himself in contention as a result of his continued gestures toward peace in Syria, Ukraine and Iraq, as well as his compassion for the poor. The Argentine would be the first Pope to claim the Prize.
Young activist Malala Yousafazi is another recognisable name on the nominations list. The 17 year old was shot by the Taliban in 2012 following her publication of an article promoting women’s rights in the Swat Valley. Now fully recovered, Yousafazi continues her advocacy work around the world.
Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege is also a chance, thanks to his work supporting victims of sexual abuse. Dr Mukwege has received much praise, setting up a hospital to treat rape victims in his native Congo.
Other nominees include Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, NSA agent turn whistle-blower Edward Snowden and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica.
The Nobel committee will meet in Oslo tonight (AEDST) to announce the winner of the 2014 prize.
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