Nobel Peace Prize Committee Member to Speak at St. Mary's Univ.

by Morgan Montalvo

WOAI News

San Antonio on Wednesday evening gets a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes work of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, News Radio 1200 reports.

Norway's Henrik Syse, the committee's vice chair, will deliver a public lecture titled "Who Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize?" at 8 p.m. in the Moody Life Sciences Center at St. Mary's University.

St. Mary's Philosophy Chair Prof. Glenn Hughes, says the event will include a question-and-answer session following Syse's address.

Hughes says the Nobel Peace Prize has undergone a transformation in the Information Age.

"The changes in sociological, political, even religious areas of thinking have had a greater impact on who receives the award," says Hughes, a longtime friend of Syse's."Sometimes the award has been very controversial."

He cites as recent examples of the award generating heated debate the 1973 Peace Prize given to both then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his North Vietnamese counterpart, Le Duc Tho, for their work on the Paris Peace Accords to end the fighting in Vietnam, Pres. Barack Obama's receipt of the 2009 prize and, now, calls from the Right that Pres. Donald Trump should be the next laureate.

"I think all of the committee members are aware - very aware, very sensitive - to the fact that their decision each year is going to be second-guessed, some people are going to be very unhappy about it," Hughes says.

And, while the Nobel Peace Prize has served as a lightning rod for discontent among some, says Hughes, the award remains a beacon of optimism for millions more worldwide.

"I think a vast majority of people who learn about it are encouraged and inspired by it, and I think that's the original purpose," Hughes says. 

PHOTO: Nobel Peace Prize Committee Vice Chair Henrik Syse will speak at St. Mary's Univ. Wednesday evening about the criteria for, and challenges of, naming a recipient for one of the world's most prestigious awards. A question-and-answer session follows Syse's lecture, titled "Who Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize?" Photo courtesy St. Mary's Univ.

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