President Obama accepts the Nobel Peace Prize from Thorbjørn Jagland, Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman, at a glittering ceremony on 10th.of December,2009, held at Oslo, Norway.
Obama, along with first lady Michelle Obama, walked into Oslo City Hall at 1 p.m. to a trumpet fanfare and applause.
Thorbjorn Jagland, Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairman described the tasks achieved by Obama and defended the award of Nobel Prize to Obama as its recipient even though he was less than a year into his Presidency.
After accepting the award he said, “I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility,” Obama said. “It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations, that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice”.
“And yet I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage.”
Obama said his accomplishments are “slight” in comparison to previous recipients of the prize and that other nominees may be more deserving but acknowledged the questions surrounding the award.
“But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander in Chief of the military of a nation in the midst of two wars,” he added.
It is a call to action expected from Obama and a signal to the world to support his policies. Obama had created history by becoming the first Afro-American President and has today joined the ranks of distinguished people by receiving this prestigious award.
“We can understand that there will be war, but we strife for peace”.
“The Nobel decision was less a ‘recognition’ of his accomplishments and more “a call to action,” Obama said.
“I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war,” Obama said. “What I do know is that meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work, and persistence of those men and women who acted so boldly decades ago. And it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of a just war and the imperatives of a just peace.”
Obama said, “I am inspired by Gandhi and Martin Luther King for their theories of peace but, I face the world as it is and say that force may sometimes be necessary”.
He had pledged to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan after 18 months. “Huge challenges remain. Afghanistan is not lost, but for several years it has moved backwards”- he added. It is “our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops” to the war-torn nation to help thwart the Taliban, Obama said.
King and Queen of Norway were present amongst other distinguished dignitaries.
His trip to Norway comes nine days after he announced plans to deploy additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, one of two countries where the United States is fighting a war.
The Nobel Prize win, announced in October, elicited mixed reactions from various quarters. Some hailed the choice, while others questioned what Obama had accomplished to deserve it. Some said it was too premature.
The prize includes a $1.4 million cheque, a gold medal and a citation.