It was announced today that President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. As an American, I’m proud to know that the man currently leading our country, and representing our nation abroad, has also gained the respect and admiration of people outside of this country. For years, the approval ratings for America and it’s citizens were plummeting, mostly attributed to former President Bush. We really had a bad rap overseas, to the point that I was embarrassed to tell people I was American when traveling through Europe. However, since the last election, the perception of America that people outside of this country have, has improved vastly. The Huffington Post sited that, “a 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world. That indicator had plunged across the world under President George W. Bush.”
President Obama is the third president in U.S. history to receive a Nobel Peace Prize while sitting in office (Theodore Roosevelt & Woodrow Wilson were the other two winners, in 1906 and 1919 respectively). But after only 8 months in office, is it too soon to be giving the President a Nobel Peace Prize? The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it honored Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” (CNN.com) But so far, his efforts have been, for the most part, just that: efforts. With so many initiatives and ideas, there hasn’t been much coming to fruition, which is causing some people to question why he would be awarded a peace prize if he hasn’t yet fulfilled any of his promises for change. However, I believe that this award will propel the President forward in his quest for diplomacy, and give him additional clout internationally. It’s validation, if you will, of his intentions to improve our nation and our world. It does put a LOT of pressure on the President to now carry out all of his promises; of peace abroad, of fixing the health care system, addressing the climate change. But I think this pressure, though initially overwhelming, should prove to be the necessary push and reassurance that this administration and President Obama need.
Quoting again from the Huffington Post:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said Obama’s award shows great things are expected from him in coming years: “It’s an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all,” Tutu said. “It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama’s message of hope.”