Nobel Peace Prize Winners in Pictures

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All of the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize throughout history Newsweek/Getty/AFP

Over its hundred-plus year history, the annual awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize has become an iconic—sometimes controversial—event on the international calendar.

The prize recognizes those who have taken the greatest steps towards peacekeeping in the world. But it turns out that this endeavour—preserving or achieving peace—is remarkably divisive. In a world fraught with war and conflict, to reward anyone’s peacekeeping efforts—even if it is multiple people at once—means choosing sides, selecting representatives, and some people will always feel aggrieved. 

The problem is made more complicated by the fact that, where peace work is most necessary, violence is often at its most intense. The Vietnam War is a telling case. When the 1973 Nobel judges decided to make North Vietnam’s communist leader Le Duc Tho and US Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger joint winners—two figures who played a part in creating the conflict—the New York Times dubbed it the "Nobel War Prize." (Le Duc Tho then became the first, and so far only winner to refuse the award.)

Such scorn has rarely been far from the prize announcement each year. As calls mount for current U.S. President Donald Trump to win the 2018 edition—in recognition, his supporters say, of his work with North Korea—the scornful voices are only likely to grow louder.

Nonetheless, for all the dubious winners, the prize retains a reputation and grandeur that few awards can rival. Since 1901, there have been 98 awards with 131 winners, ranging from familiar names and heroic figures to the humble work of institutions. 

In his will, Alfred Nobel asked that the prize go to “the person who shall have done the most or best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

At a time when the world feels increasingly divided, with jingoistic populism on the rise, one senses that the prize will be around for a while.

In this Newsweek gallery, we look at all of the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, starting with the most recent and working back to the first prize, awarded in 1901.

2017 ican
2017: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Switzerland). "For its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons." AFP
2016 santos
2016: Juan Manuel Santos (Colombia). For his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, a war that has cost the lives of at least 220,000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people." Reuters
2015 Tunisian
2015: Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (Tunisia). "For its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011." Reuters
2014 Kailash Malala
2014: Kailash Satyarthi (India) and Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan). "For their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education." Reuters
2013 OPCW
2013: Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons International. "For its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons." AFP
2012 EU
2012: European Union. "For over six decades, contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe." iStock
2011 Sirleaf karman Gbowee
2011: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman (Yemen). "For their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work." Reuters
2010 Liu Xiaobo
2010: Liu Xiaobo (China). "For his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China." Reuters
2009 Barack Obama
2009: Barack Obama (United States). "For his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." AFP
2008 Martti Ahtisaari
2008: Martti Ahtisaari (Finland). "For his efforts on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts." AFP
2007 Gore IPCC
2007: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (United Nations) and Al Gore (United States). "For their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change." AFP