NEW YORK (TIP): The World Food Programme received Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday, December, in an event very different from the traditional pomp-filled celebration in the Norwegian capital because of the coronavirus outbreak.
In Oslo, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, gave a webcast statement, after which David Beasley, the UN agency boss, gave an acceptance speech from Rome, where it is based. The body was given the prestigious award for efforts to combat hunger. This year, 12 laureates were named across the six categories. All but the Peace Prize have been awarded over the past days at low-key ceremonies across Europe and the United States in the places where the winners live.
A Nobel prize comes with a 10-milion krona ($1.1 million) cash award — to be shared in some cases — diplomas and gold medals.
Traditionally, the lavish Nobel ceremonies are all held December 10, the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel, in Stockholm, except for the Peace Prize that is held in Oslo, in neighboring Norway.
“The pandemic has subjected us all to difficult obstacles. We have been reminded of the importance of cross-border cooperation in resolving humanitarian crises and that, with the help of science, we can find solutions to the challenges we face,” said Lars Heikensten, executive director of the Nobel Foundation. “Since 1901, the Nobel Peace Prize has been presented in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. It is a grand event held in Oslo’s city hall. In a normal year, it would have been filled to capacity, and you would have been greeted by the royal family, the president and the prime minister,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said via video link from the Norwegian capital. Instead, WFP Executive Director David Beasley received the prize, medal and diploma at the organization’s headquarters in Rome.
“Famine is at humanity’s doorstep,” he said, accepting the award. “Because of so many wars, climate change and a global health pandemic that makes all that exponentially worse, 270 million people are marching towards starvation. Failing to address their needs will cause a hunger pandemic which will dwarf the impact of Covid.”