Oslo: In a star-studded ceremony
in Oslo, the US President
accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009
for his endeavors in establishing peace in the world. The ceremony
started with a conclave of cars that stopped at the auditorium and
the huge limousine stopped just right at the red carpet and the
illustrious recipient and the other dignitaries came forward and
entered the hall amidst a gushing welcome.
It was well
attended by dignitaries from around the world. It also included an
eclectic variety of people from the actor Will Smith with his family
to Sir Richard Branson.
elevation to a pantheon of winners alongside the likes of Nelson
Mandela, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King before he has even
spent a year in office has sparked international criticism.
said he received the award with "great humility" and acknowledged
the "controversy" saying that next to "some of the giants of history
who have received this prize my accomplishments are slight".
He paid tribute to
anti-government demonstrators in Iran, Myanamar and Zimbabwe and
said the United States would always stand on the side of those who
"We will bear
witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu Kyi; to
the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of
beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently
through the streets of Iran," Obama said.
"It is telling
that the leaders of these governments fear the aspirations of their
own people more than the power of any other nation.
"And it is the
responsibility of all free people and free nations to make clear to
these movements that hope and history are on their side."
Responding to the
international controversy over the award, the chairman of the
Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjoern Jagland, told the prize
ceremony however that "history can tell us a great deal about lost
"It is now, today,
that we have the opportunity to support President Obama's ideas.
This year's prize is indeed a call to action for all of us."
is only the third sitting president to win the prize and he has been
closely questioned about his credentials in Oslo, particularly after
his decision to send 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan.
He has admitted
the timing of the award is an awkward coincidence.
ceremony, he said: "I have no doubt there are others who may be more
But he told a
press conference he would use the prize to bolster his
pro-engagement foreign policy, and to work for lasting world peace.
"The goal is not
to win a popularity contest or to get an award, even one as
prestigious as the Nobel peace prize. The goal has been to advance
America's interests," he said.
"If I am
successful in those tasks, then hopefully some of the criticism will
subside, but that is not really my concern.
"If I am not
successful, then all the praise and the awards in the world won't
disguise that fact."
committee praised Obama for nurturing a new era of engagement and
multilateralism in US foreign policy when it made its shock
announcement in October.
first stop after landing in Oslo at dawn was to sign the guest book
at the Norwegian Nobel Institute.
He marveled at how
the award of the 1964 Nobel peace prize had galvanized the civil
rights fight of Martin Luther King, who he has said helped pave the
way for him to become the first African American president.
lavishly praised Norway's hospitality amid disappointment in Oslo at
his decision to cut short his stay, even leaving before an official
dinner on Thursday night.
Norway was mirrored in the United States, where the US leader's once
huge popularity has started to fray and isolationist sentiment is on
peace and anti-nuclear organisations held demonstrations outside the
award ceremony against a president who took office on a wave of
euphoria but who critics say has fallen short of forging promised
Outside the Nobel
committee offices, protestors held up a banner reading "Obama you
won the prize, now earn it."
institute poll published Wednesday in the Verdens Gang daily showed
just 35.9 percent of Norwegians thought Obama deserved the prize,
down from 42.7 percent in October.
Nearly as many,
33.5 percent, believe the 44th US president is unworthy of the award
that has been handed out for over a century.
In the United
States, a Quinnipiac University survey of 2,313 registered voters
published Tuesday showed that by a wide margin of 66-26 percent,
Americans think Obama does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.
physics, chemistry, economics and literature Nobel laureates will
receive their awards at a ceremony in Stockholm on Thursday.