for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.
So was Barack Obama awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week. Cue gasps of glee, plenty of head-scratching surprise, and a profusion of controversy. Because the question on many people’s minds is quite clear: what for?
Ignoring the fact that Obama was nominated for the award only days after his inauguration, his term thus far has certainly been one of optimism and change. It would be unfair to dismiss his achievements, and plain wrong to chastise his goals. Amongst others, Obama has been responsible for: moving to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay; furthering plans for the US withdrawal from Iraq; easing tension with Russia by abrogating plans for the missile defense shield in Eastern Europe; moving to open talks with pariah states North Korea and Iran; extending a palm leaf to the Islamic world; fostering much-weakened international institutions and supporting diplomatic methods in the Middle East.