A Swedish sociology professor has nominated Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize. He says the NSA whistleblower could help “save the prize from the disrepute incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision” to give the 2009 award to Barack Obama.
In his letter addressed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Stefan Svallfors praised Snowden for his “heroic effort at great personal cost.” He stated that by revealing the existence and the scale of the US surveillance programs, Snowden showed “individuals can stand up for fundamental rights and freedoms.”
“This example is important because since the Nuremberg trials in 1945 has been clear that the slogan ‘I was just following orders’ is never claimed as an excuse for acts contrary to human rights and freedoms,” Professor Svallfors wrote.
He emphasized that the decision to award the 2013 prize to Edward Snowden would also “help to save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award US President Barack Obama 2009 award.”
But Kristian Berg Harpviken, senior researcher and deputy director at the International Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), told Interfax news agency that it is very unlikely that Snowden will become a Nobel Prize laureate.
Harpviken said that all major deadlines have passed, meaning that Snowden will have very little chance of making the shortlist.
When asked whether Snowden deserves the award, Harpviken replied with a “careful yes.”
The head of the International Committee of the Russian State Duma Aleksey Pushkov has also argued that the US won’t let Nobel Peace Prize go to Snowden.
“Not in a million years will the United States allow Snowden to get the Peace Prize. But his nomination is significant. Many in the West see him as a champion of democracy,” he tweeted on Monday.
As a sociology professor at Umeå University, which has recently top-ranked among the world’s best young universities, Svallfors is included in the limited circuit of people who can deliver nominations to the Nobel committee. These include members of international courts and national assemblies; university rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes.
Nominations for laureates should be postmarked for consideration in the following December’s prizes no later than February 1 for the advisers to review the short list of the suggested candidates.
Since 1901, when the Nobel Peace Prize was launched, it has been awarded to a hundred individuals who “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”