The Nobel Peace Prize was established by Alfred Nobel in his final will and testament when he left the majority of his trust funds to future winners of the Nobel awards. He also defined the guidelines for receiving the award and the responsibility of carrying out the nomination process belongs to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. This is considered the most prestigious award in the world and goes to the person who has done the most or best work in establishing friendly relations between nations, reducing or eliminating armed forces, and promoting peace. There have been 101 individuals and 24 organizations that have received the award. Until 1960, the award was received almost exclusively by white American and European men but that has been changing in the last few decades. This article takes a look at those countries with the highest number of prize recipients and who they are.
Countries with Highest Number of Nobel Peace Prize Recipients
The US tops the list of Nobel Peace Prize recipients with 27 which is almost double that of the number 2 position. Some of the most notable US Nobel Peace Prize laureates are briefly discussed below.
Theodore Roosevelt, United States
Theodore Roosevelt was the first person in the US to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1906, for being a successful peace arbitrators at the time. He was responsible for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War. This conflict resulted in over 150,000 deaths and peace talks lasted for 11 days before Russia and Japan agreed on a settlement. This particular nomination is interesting because it was the first time the Nobel Peace Prize became controversial. Swedish media criticized the nomination and the “Leftists” in Norway called Roosevelt a “military mad” imperialist. The general belief was that Roosevelt had negotiated peace merely to benefit American interests.
Martin Luther King, Jr., United States
In 1964, the year that President Johnson signed the law that would prohibit all racial discrimination, Martin Luther King, Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent campaign to promote racial equality. He began fighting against racism in 1955 when very racist laws were still on the books in the southern states. His movement, which followed the peaceful ideas of Gandhi, motivated 250,000 demonstrators to march on Washington in protest of racist policies and laws. It was here, in 1963, that MLK, Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream” speech in which he hoped people would one day be judged by the quality of their person and not the color of their skin. He was assassinated 5 years later.
The United Kingdom and Switzerland
The number 2 position with 14 Nobel Peace Prize recipients is shared by the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The most notable nominations have been Anmesty International from Great Britain and the Red Cross from Switzerland.
Amnesty International, United Kingdom
London-based organization, Amnesty International, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for its work in human rights. This non-governmental organization (NGO) focuses on the global protection of the rights of prisoners of conscience. Members publish reports on the human rights conditions in various countries throughout the world including issues like the death penalty, fair trials, detention without trial, and torture of prisoners. When violations occur, they organize campaigns to end the violence pushing for the recognition of UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. The nomination was made for their campaign against torture.
The Red Cross, Switzerland
The Red Cross is a humanitarian organization based in Switzerland. This organization has won the Nobel Peace Prize an astounding 3 times; its founder, Henry Dunant, was the first person to ever receive the Peace Prize which means The Red Cross has been recognized for its global peace and humanitarian efforts on 4 separate occasions. Its beginnings are rooted in the Second War for Italian Independence when Henry Dunant organized locals to set up infirmaries to treat wounded soldiers from both sides of the fight. He returned to Switzerland with the express objective that all soldiers should receive medical attention during times of war. The Red Cross was established in 1863. The organization received its first Peace Prize in 1917 after establishing the International Prisoner of War Agency which notified prisoners’ next of kin of their situation during World War I. The second time the organization received the award was in 1944. This time the award was based on their wartime contributions of humanity, reconciliation, and observation of international law. The third nomination was in 1963 for their success in promoting the Geneva Conventions. This award was shared with The League of Red Cross Societies, a branch of the original organization.
Albert Schweitzer, France
In 3rd place is France with 9 Nobel Peace Prize recipients. One of the most famous of these laureates is Albert Schweitzer. In 1952, Albert Schweitzer, renowned theologian, philosopher, and physician, received the Nobel Peace Prize. He graduated from medical school in 1913 and went to present-day Gabon in Africa as a medical missionary and founded the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné. In the first 9 months, he and his wife treated over 2,000 patients. After the start of World War I, he and his wife (then German citizens) were placed in an internment camp and their work was observed by the French colonialists. He was released and returned to Europe in 1918 but returned to Africa in 1924 where he spent the remainder of his life attempting to relieve what he viewed as cruelties imposed by European colonists. He opened a leprosarium with the Nobel Peace Prize money.
Recipients From Countries Not Listed
No list of Nobel Peace Prize laureates would be complete without mentioning the following individuals.
Mother Teresa, Macedonia
Mother Teresa was born in present-day Macedonia and spent the majority of her life dedicated to humanitarian efforts in India where she passed away in 1997. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 after founding the organization Missionaries for Charity. Mother Teresa and members of her organization spent years building homes for orphans, lepers, and the terminally ill.
Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank, Bangladesh
In 2006, Muhammad Yunus and his organization the Grameen Bank received the Nobel Peace Prize. He dedicated his life to creating economic and social equality from a grassroots approach. He is a pioneer in micro-credit and has led the movement of granting those living in poverty with small loans and low interest. His belief is that by providing small capital and teaching basic financial principles, individuals without access to credit will be able to come out of poverty through micro-enterprise activities.