Posts Tagged ‘Malala Yousafzai’

Glittering Nobel ceremony, disrupted peace prize and Watson gets his medal back

December 11, 2014

In Sweden, 10th December every year is Nobel Awards Day. This year the ceremony in Stockholm – as always – was a glittering occasion. It was very ritualised but not solemn and carried out with pomp and precision without being pompous. The music all through is especially apt. Crown Princess Victoria, I thought, stood out and stole the show. The speeches all followed protocol and were – as expected – eminently forgettable.

The Peace prize was awarded in Oslo in parallel with the celebrations in Stockholm (just offset a little to allow uninterrupted TV coverage). The Oslo ceremonies are not as impressive as in Stockholm and the music they use is awful. Their security isn’t up to much either. This year saw the ceremony disrupted by an unknown intruder with a Mexican flag. He came within a metre of the prize winners, but fortunately had no malicious intent and apparently shouted “Don’t forget Mexico” before he was hustled off. I have little respect for the Peace prize and the Norwegian committee who choose the laureates. The winners this year, Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi, are very worthy people working in very difficult circumstances on very worthy causes. But their work has a very tenuous connection – if any – with the promotion of World Peace. In fact in the last 10 years the only winner who had anything to do with Peace was Martti Ahtisaari. None of the other choices has had anything to do with peace but has had everything to do with a fawning – almost sickening – observance of the perceived political correctness of the time. Barack Obama, the EU, the IPCC, the OPCW and Liu Xiaobo had achieved nothing of any significance for peace at the time of their awards but were “in the news”. I observe that they have not achieved very much since either.

The Peace prize degrades the Nobel brand.

And yesterday Alisher Usmanov revealed that he had bought James Watson’s Nobel medal for $4.8 million and would be returning the medal to Watson. Interestingly, if Watson was receiving the award today he would get one-third of 8 million SEK or about $350,000. In 1962 when he was awarded the prize he received 85,740 Swedish krona as his one-third share. The 1962 Nobel prize for Medicine was won jointly with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins. Crick’s medal was sold at auction in 2013 for more than $2m (£1.3m).

Crown Princess Victoria with Chemistry laureate Eric Betzig arriving at the City Hall Stockholm for the Nobe banquet. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg /TT

Crown Princess Victoria with Chemistry laureate Eric Betzig arriving at the City Hall Stockholm for the Nobel banquet. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg /TT

Peace prize disruption Oslo 2014

Peace prize disruption Oslo 2014


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