The Norwegian Nobel Committee has confirmed earlier predictions that it will need to postpone this year’s prize ceremony in Oslo, because of the ongoing Corona crisis. Strict limitations on the size of public gatherings mean the traditional ceremony couldn’t be held in a manner considered worthy.
The leader of the UN’s World Food Program, which won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, had received an exemption from Norway’s strict Corona regulations to travel to Oslo to collect it. Both David Beasley, his entourage and the Nobel Committee ultimately agreed, however, that it was best to postpone his visit, which also would have involved Corona testing and at least a short quarantine period.
“We’ve been evaluating this since the prize was announced on October 9,” noted Olav Njølstad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, told state broadcaster NRK. Plans for the ceremony had already been scaled back, and moved from the large Oslo City Hall to the University of Oslo’s Aula. Current restrictions won’t allow the public to be present at all, however, “and that’s not how we want to celebrate a prize winner,” Njølstad said. He added that the committee was still evaluating the possibility of holding a digital presentation of the Peace Prize on December 10, when the Nobel prizes are always awarded under the terms of benefactor Alfred Nobel’s will.
Ceremonies have been postponed in the past, like when Mikhail Gorbachev couldn’t travel to Oslo in December 1990 when the Soviet Union was splitting up. Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma was also stuck in house arrest in Rangoon when her prize was announced in 1991. She collected it 21 years later, in 2012.