Nobel Days all weekend long

Bookmark and Share

The banners are up, the winners are in Oslo and Norway’s capital planned to celebrate the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize throughout the weekend. Some of the events tied to the Peace Prize will last well into the New Year.

The winners are staying once again at the Grand Hotel in Oslo, and will wave from its balcony on Saturday evening. PHOTO: Views and News

This year’s prize has been awarded in three equal parts to three women from Liberia and Yemen for their non-violent struggles for democracy, to improve safety for women and ensure their rights to participate in peace-building efforts. One of the winners, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has since won re-election as Liberia’s president, and said she was “very proud” when she arrived in Oslo Thursday afternoon.

“We have fought so long for peace and democracy, and this is a fantastic recognition of our work,” Johnson-Sirleaf told news bureau NTB. Her fellow Liberian winner, Leymah Gbowee, was the first of the three to arrive in Oslo and, like Johnson-Sirleaf, said it “feels good to be here, I’m glad, honored and humbled. But it also feels cold here!”

The third winner, pro-democracy champion Tawakkul Karman of Yemen, arrived late Thursday evening and all three are staying at Oslo’s Grand Hotel, which traditionally accommodates the Nobel Peace Prize winners. That’s also where the annual Nobel banquet will be held on Saturday evening after the prize ceremony earlier that day.

The Nobel prizes are always handed out in Oslo and Stockholm on the anniversary of the death of their benefactor Alfred Nobel, December 10. The actual prize ceremony begins promptly at 1pm in the Oslo City Hall.

Other traditional events were planned for both before and after the ceremony, including a press conference with the winners on Friday afternoon, a large gathering of children hailing the prize winners outside City Hall on Saturday morning and the 6pm annual torchlight parade up Karl Johans Gate to the Grand Hotel, where the winners wave to the crowd just before the banquet begins at 7pm.

‘Energetic and powerful’
On Sunday, the winners will also open a new exhibit featuring their efforts at the Nobel Peace Center, which honors winners of the prize and the prize itself all year long. This year’s exhibit, mounted in the two months since the winners were announced in October, is based around photographs taken by newspaper VG photographer Espen Rasmussen, who followed the women for a few weeks in November.

“These women are so energetic and powerful,” Bente Erichsen, director of the Nobel Peace Center, told NTB. “They show that the struggle for democracy can succeed and gives hope in countries where women don’t have many rights. Espen has managed to capture that.”

On Sunday evening, the winners will be guests of honor at the annual Nobel Concert at the Oslo Spektrum Arena. It will be hosted by actresses Helen Mirren and Rosario Dawson with Sugarland, Angelique Kidjo and the World Youth Choir among the performers.

A variety of other events not directly tied to the Norwegian Nobel Committee are also being held, including a lecture at Litteraturhuset (The Literature House) in Oslo at 3pm on Saturday that highlights the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Bertha von Suttner, and her role in the creation of the prize itself. Several bookstores are also featuring a new thriller written by Norwegian author Arild Aspøy that involves a fictional Peace Prize candidate.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

Please support our stories by clicking on the “Donate” button now: