Nobel Peace Prize

Check out this week’s CLP Current Event to learn how ICAN went from a “scrappy coalition of groups from around the world” to Nobel Peace Prize winner. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) successfully moved the United Nations to adopt a treaty banning nuclear weapons. On July 7, 2017, an impressive 122 countries endorsed a treaty to enter a legally binding treaty to end nuclear weapons. On October 6, 2017, ICAN was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Find out more about ICAN, the Nobel Prize, and the effort to ban nukes here.

Brought to teachers by Susie Marcus, CLP consultant, with CLP staff.



News Sources

“The Nobel Peace Prize 2017 was awarded to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) ‘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’.”

Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Group Opposing Nuclear Weapons
by Rick Gladstone, The New York Times, Oct. 6, 2017
(T)he International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a Geneva-based coalition of disarmament activists, was honored for its efforts to advance the negotiations that led to the treaty, which was reached in July at the United Nations…”

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) – Interview – The Call from Oslo –”This Will Mean the World to Us”, Oct. 6, 2017
Adam Smith, Chief Scientific Officer of Nobel Media, interviewing Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN, following the announcement of the award.
CLP: transcript of telephone interview shortly after the award was announced

What to Know About ICAN, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
ABC Action News WPVI-TV, Oct. 6, 2017
“What is ICAN? … What did they do to win? … Why is ICAN’s work important?… ’’
CLP: FAQs for this year’s winner

The White Helmets Deserved the Nobel Peace Prize
by Madeline Fry, The Collegian (Hillsdale, MI), Oct. 12, 2017
“… the Nobel Peace Prize, went Friday to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. … there’s a more deserving candidate …”
CLP: thoughtful argument that prize should go to those who make a difference on the ground

Preventing World War III While There’s Still Time, Or, How We Can Learn to Start Worrying and End Atomic Terror
by Michael T. Klare, The Nation, October 12, 2017
“… we are thrilled to trumpet something uplifting: the awarding of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to … a scrappy coalition of groups from around the world that played a decisive role in the adoption, this past July, of an international treaty banning the production, possession, and use of nuclear munitions…”
CLP: seeks a new world norm against the use of nuclear weapons.

Editorial: Monday Mix on Nobel Peace Prize
Daily Hampshire Gazette, October 15, 2017
“Sharing in a Nobel Peace Prize was not new for Dr. Ira Helfand of Leeds …”
CLP: one person making a difference

The UN Adopted a Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons. But No Nuclear-Armed Nations Are On Board
by The World Staff, PRI’s The World, July 11, 2017
“This initiative clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment … ”
CLP: 122 countries voted yes, but what about the nuclear-weapon-holding countries that did not vote?


Questions to Consider

  • What is the Nobel peace prize? Who makes the choice of the award winner? How do people and organizations get nominated for the prize?
  • Who are the people who direct ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons)? What experiences and background do they bring to this organization? What is the ratio of women to men? Who is Beatrice Fihn?
  • Does the list of past honorees say something about the meaning of the Nobel prize for peace?
  • Should this prize be aspirational or rewarding specific actions?
  • Does the promotion of peace mean the dismantling of nuclear weapons or a build up of nuclear weapons to discourage others from using them?
  • Should the peace prize be withdrawn if the winner disappoints? (Aun Sang Suu Kyi and the Rohingya minority in Burma – see CLP Current Event Oct. 3, 2017)
  • What are the threats of nuclearization?
  • What is non-proliferation?
  • Is a treaty banning nuclear weapons effective if it is not signed by the nations that have nuclear capability? Why or why not?
  • Is there value in encouraging public opinion to reject weaponizing? Might public opinion influence leaders of nation states to think about alternatives to using nuclear weapons?
  • Do current events reflect an urgency to reach a nuclear agreement? What role do concerned individuals and organizations play in encouraging peace?
  • How might North Korea respond to a nuclear ban? How might Iran respond to a nuclear ban? How might the United States respond?
  • In what other areas besides peace does the Nobel organization award prizes?

Additional Questions

  • Can you choose anyone for the Nobel Peace Prize?
  • Who selects the Peace Prize Laureate?
  • How do you know if a person or an organization deserves to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize? Do you always agree? What happens if you do not agree?
  • What do you think the Nobel Peace Prize means today? What do you think it will mean in the future?


Background and More

The Nobel Peace Prize, 1901-2000
by Geir Lundestad, Secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
“ … why does the Peace Prize have the prestige it actually has? … what explains the nature of the historical record the Norwegian Nobel Committee has established over these 100 years?… “
CLP: survey of the history of the Nobel Peace Prize during its first 100 years.

14 Questions and Answers About the Nobel Peace Prize
by Geir Lundestad, Secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
CLP: answers to frequently asked questions about the Nobel Peace Prize

The Case for a Ban Treaty, by ICAN
CLP: ICAN makes its case

A Treaty Is Reached to Ban Nuclear Arms. Now Comes the Hard Part.
by Rick Gladstone, The New York Times, July 7, 2017
“… ‘We have to be realistic,’ Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, said when the talks began in March. ‘Is there anyone who thinks that North Korea would ban nuclear weapons?’…”

Nations to Sign Nuclear Ban Treaty Opposed by Big Powers
“…nuclear powers say a ban on the weapons won’t work. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian …called the nuclear ban treaty ‘wishful thinking’ that is ‘close to irresponsible.’…”

International Gallup poll: Diplomacy Rather Than War with North Korea
by DW Akademie (German), Aug. 10, 2017
“Diplomacy not bombs, negotiations not sanctions: Those were the findings of a new opinion poll on the North Korean crisis…”
CLP: includes nice graph measuring countries’ preferred solution N. Korea situation.

Inside Europe: Living up to the Nobel Peace Prize
by DW Akademie (German), Aug. 10, 2017
“The Nobel Peace Prize usually gets a lot of attention and sometimes fierce criticism. The Norwegian Nobel Committee doesn’t always get it right. …”
CLP: for a change of pace, listen to an informative 5-min. broadcast

Aung San Suu Kyi: The rise and fall of Asia’s Mandela
by Jamie Tarabay, CNN World, updated Sept. 18, 2017
CLP: Nobel Peace Prize winner who disappoints (see CLP Current Event: Refugees in Crisis: The Rohingya)

Positions on the treaty, ICAN
CLP: find list of countries in favor and against

Having Nuclear Weapons ‘Matter of Life and Death’ for North Korea: Agency
Reuters Staff, Reuters World News, October 20, 2017
“… North Korea’s foreign ministry told a non-proliferation conference in Moscow Washington would ‘have to put up’ with North Korea’s nuclear status … ‘This is a matter of life and death for us. The current situation deepens our understanding that we need nuclear weapons to repel a potential attack.’”
CLP: one country’s view of why nuclear weapons are necessary


Lesson Plans

Nobel Peace Prize 2017, from Nobel Center
CLP: teacher’s guide, speaker manuscript, slideshow, text; also includes lessons for prizes in other disciplines (e.g. chemistry, literature)

Nobel Peace Laureate Project
“Biographical lessons have been prepared for twenty-four American Nobel Peace Prize Laureates … among them Barak Obama, Ely Wiesel, Martin Luther King…”
CLP: an Oregon project promoting peace via downloadable lessons including bios, discussion questions, activities.

History Lesson Plan: The Nobel Peace Prize
by Vbartlemus in Kidsteachers – Resources for Teachers, Nov. 26, 2014
“Students will learn about the Nobel Peace prize and learn the story of one of its recipients, Mother Teresa …”
CLP: geared for middle grades, good for younger students or those with reading challenges.

Should Nuclear Weapons Be Abolished? From
CLP: posts reader-provided pros and cons

7 Biggest Pros and Cons of Nuclear Weapons from GreenGarage
CLP: tidy list of pros and cons


Constitutional and Legal Connections

Japanese Constitution Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
by Angelina Lucienne, SoraNews24, April 14, 2014
“… an unprecedented nomination: the Ninth Article of the Japanese constitution. The Ninth Article renounces the right to engage in war o to maintain a military…”

About the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, by ICAN, July 7, 2017
CLP: important legal issues addressed in these FAQs


Oregon & the Northwest

Vintage Oregon: Happy Birthday to Nobel Prize winner from Oregon
by John Killen, The Oregonian/OregonLive, Feb. 2, 2017
“… Others who were raised in Oregon and went on to win the Nobel prize include Linus Pauling … ”

See also, Nobel Peace Laureate Project (Lessons), an Oregon project promoting peace via downloadable lessons


Oregon State Social Science Standards

8.8 Evaluate information from a variety of sources and perspectives.
8.14 Explain the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
8.26 Examine a controversial event, issue, or problem from more than one perspective.
8.28 Investigate a response or solution to an issue or problem and support or oppose, using research.

HS.3 Explain the historical development and impact of major world religions and philosophies.
HS.5 Examine and evaluate the origins of fundamental political debates and how conflict, compromise, and cooperation have shaped national unity and diversity in world, U.S., and Oregon history.
HS.9 Identify historical and current events, issues, and problems when national interests and global interest have been in conflict, and analyze the values and arguments on both sides of the conflict.
HS.31 Describe United States foreign policy and evaluate its impact on the United States and other countries.
HS.34 Explain the responsibilities of citizens (e.g., vote, pay taxes).
HS.57 Define, research, and explain an event, issue, problem or phenomenon and its significance to society.
HS.58 Gather, analyze, use and document information from various sources, distinguishing facts, opinions, inferences, biases, stereotypes, and persuasive appeals.
HS.59 Demonstrate the skills an dispositions needed to be a critical consumer of information.
HS.60 Analyze an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon from varied or opposing perspectives or points of view.
HS.62 Propose, compare, and judge multiple responses, alternatives, or solutions to issues or problems; then reach an informed, defensible, and supported conclusion.
HS.63 Engage in informed and respectful deliberation and discussion of issues, events, and ideas.


We the People Lesson Connections

Middle School, Level 2

  • Unit 6, Lesson 28: What is the relationship of the United States to other nations in the world?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 29: What are the rights and responsibilities of citizenship?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 30: How might citizens participate in civic affairs?

High School, Level 3

  • Unit 6, Lesson 36: How have American political ideas and the American Constitutional System influenced other nations?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 37: What key challenges does the United States face in the future?