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First Nobel Prize ceremony since the pandemic underway

Gulan Media December 10, 2022 News
First Nobel Prize ceremony since the pandemic underway

The conflict in Ukraine is at the heart of this year's choice of Nobel Peace Prize winners. The event will also be attended by previous years' laureates, amid disruptions during the pandemic.

The Nobel Prize ceremony kicks off Saturday in the Swedish and Norwegian capitals after a two-year disruption due to the pandemic.

The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is being held at Oslo's City Hall at 1 p.m. local time (1200 GMT), with the conflict in Ukraine at the heart of this year's prizes.

Meanwhile, the Swedish capital Stockholm is hosting a separate awards ceremony for the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics.

Several laureates from 2020 and 2021 will be attending the Stockholm ceremony, with many in formal wear to honor the glamor of the event.

The event coincides with the UN's Human Rights Day, which commemorates the 74th anniversary of the  adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Who are this year's peace prize winners?

The Nobel Peace Prize winners this year hail from the three countries embroiled in the Ukrainian conflict. They are: Ukraine's Center for Civil Liberties, Russian human rights organization Memorial and jailed Belarusian human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski.

The Center for Civil Liberties has been documenting war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Its head, Oleksandra Matviichuk, spoke with reporters Friday from the Nobel Institute, where some attendants have arrived ahead of the ceremony.

"This war has a genocidal character," Matviichuk said. "If Ukraine stops its resistance, there will be no more of us."

The Russian human rights organization Memorial has been shedding light on crimes committed by Stalin's totalitarian regime, while documenting human rights violations in Russia as well since its founding in 1989.

Last year, however, the Russian Supreme Court ordered its dissolution. Its Moscow offices were raided on October 7 on a court order, the same day it was announced as the co-winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

"Ukraine is not fighting for its interests alone. It is fighting for our joint peaceful future," the chairman of the board of Memorial, Yan Rachinsky, said.

Belarusian Ales Bialiatski's prize will be accepted by his wife, as the human rights defender awaits trial. He is being held in a Belarusian jail since the large-scale protests in Minsk in the summer of 2020 over the contested presidential election. Belarusian strongman Aleksander Lukashenko, Putin's ally, claims he won the majority of the votes.

What are the other prizes?

Russia's invasion of Ukraine was also a contributing factor in the naming of some of the other Nobel Prize winners, due to be presented on Saturday.

The laureates for the 2022 Economics Prize, former US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and economists Douglas Diamond and Philip Dybvig are receiving the prize for their research on how a deeper economic crisis can be averted by propping up failing banks.

Many strong economies are struggling this year with high inflation and a looming recession, as the conflict in Ukraine has led to an energy crisis and affected food supplies and prices.

Who is invited to this year's banquet?

The list of invitees to the banquet held after this year's ceremony in Stockholm has stirred some controversy. Traditionally attended by the Swedish royal family, government officials and dignitaries from different countries, some names have been intentionally left off this year's guest list.

One such name is Jimmie Akesson, the leader of the Sweden Democrats. The anti-immigration, right-wing party became the second-biggest in parliament after elections in September.

The ambassadors of Russia and Belarus were also left off the guest list.

The Nobel Prize was founded by Alfred Nobel to present prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace. The dynamite inventor left behind some 31 million crowns, equal to $174.2 million (roughly €165 million) in today's money to fund the prizes, awarded annually since 1901.

rmt/ar (AFP, Reuters)

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