The Nobel Peace Prize is announced every year to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses", as described in Alfred Nobel’s will. For the year 2016, Colombian presidentJuan Manuel Santos was awarded the prize for his efforts to end his country's 50-year civil war. From 1895 to today, there have been 104 individuals and 26 organizations that have been awarded with this prestigious title.
Mr. Santos is the second Colombian to be awarded the peace prize, after the novelist Gabriel García Márquez, who won in 1982. Mr. Santos is an economist who served as the Chief Executive of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia. He was the Minister of Foreign Trade of Colombia from 1991 to 1994, Minister of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia from 2000 to 2002. He was elected as the President of Columbia in 2010.
To end the war-torn country’s agony, Mr. Santos negotiated a peace agreement with the guerrilla group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc). But the peace deal was rejected by a majority of the country’s citizens and this made the agreement go into a referendum. “The committee hopes that the peace prize will give him strength to succeed in this demanding task. Further it is the committee’s hope that in the year’s to come, the Colombian people will reap the fruits of the reconciliation process”, said Kaci Kullmann Five, the chairwoman of the Nobel Prize committee, during the announcement. From Pope Francis to Angela Merkel, there were strong contenders for this year’s winner but the committee has applauded President Santos for saying he would fight for peace until his last day in office and going “all in” with the seek of peace for his nation.
“I am infinitely grateful for this honorable distinction with all my heart. I accept it not on my behalf, but on behalf of all Colombians, especially the millions of victims of this conflict, which we have suffered for more than 50 years. Thank God, peace is close. Peace is possible. It is time for peace. Together, as a nation, we will build it. I invite everyone to unite our efforts, our minds and our hearts in this great national goal so that we all win the most important prize - peace for Colombia”, said the delighted President. The reaction from the people of Columbia has mostly been positive which shows their support towards his peace goals.
Mr. Santos, who is striving hard to work on this peace deal with the Farc group, rightly deserves this award, as this would only encourage him to bring peace to his country sooner. It is rather rare that a prize is given for a purpose rather than a visible result. It merely shows the potential of Mr. Santos in achieving the peace that Columbia is longing for. Congratulations President Juan Manuel Santos!