Nobel Peace Prize days get underway

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This relatively modest building in Oslo was due to be a hub of activity once again this week, after representatives of no less than four Tunisian organizations arrive in the Norwegian capital to share the Nobel Peace Prize. They flew to Norway on Tuesday, to take part in nearly non-stop Nobel events through Friday.

not much security around the building

The Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo will be a hub of Peace Prize activity this week. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

After checking in at the Grand Hotel, one of their first stops, as always, will be at the Norwegian Nobel Institute just across the street from the grounds of the Royal Palace and the US Embassy. That’s where they meet members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that awards the Peace Prize every year, and sign the guest book.

This year that will take some extra space in the book. The Peace Prize for 2015 was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, formed in the summer of 2013 when Tunisia’s road to democracy suddenly faced serious obstacles because of social unrest and political assassinations. Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution of two years earlier had brought the country to the brink of civil war, and the Quartet was formed to spur dialogue instead of more conflict.

It’s comprised of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), represented by Houcine Abassi; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), represented by Ouided Bouchamaoui; the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH), represented by Abdessattar Ben Moussa; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers, represented by Mohamed Fadhel Mahmoud. They will all sign the book, each will speak at the traditional Peace Prize ceremony on Thursday and each will receive both a gold medal and certificate. The four organizations will share the prize money of around USD 1 million.

The four representatives of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, which won this year's Nobel Peace Prize. PHOTO: Nobel Fredssenter

The four representatives of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, which won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. PHOTO: Nobel Fredssenter

The four representatives for the quartet were to also take part in a traditional press conference on Wednesday and, on Thursday, attend the annual Save the Children’s Peace Prize Party on the City Hall Plaza and meet King Harald and other members of Norway’s royal family before the Peace Prize Award Ceremony begins inside City Hall at 1pm. The ceremony is always held on December 10, the anniversary of benefactor Alfred Nobel’s death.

After that the quartet members will be interviewed live by CNN before a torchlight procession arrives in front of the Grand Hotel to hail the winners just before 7pm on Thursday. It will be followed for the first time by an outdoor musical performance, by Norwegian electronica artist Kygo. He’s due to present an accoustic version of his hit Firestone in front of the balcony where the Peace Prize winners wave to the crowds.

Then the winners will be honoured at the annual Nobel Peace Prize Banquet Thursday evening, followed by a visit to the new Tunisian exhibit opening at the Nobel Peace Center on Friday. They’ll also meet local dignitaries and their counterparts at Norwegian organizations like NHO (business and employers), LO (Norway’s largest trade union federation), the Norwegian Bar Association and the Norwegian Center for Human Rights. Those organizations have helped finance the exhibit at the Nobel Peace Center, which will portray how Tunisia is trying to progress from revolution to the establishment of a constitution and the prize winners’ dialogue for democracy.

The winners will also be hailed at the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert, which has been moved this year from the Oslo Spektrum arena to the larger Telenor Arena at Fornebu. The concert will also feature Kygo, along with Norwegian rock band a-ha, Norwegian singer Aurora and other international artists. The concert will be hosted this year by former American talk show host Jay Leno.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund