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Examining the Road to Becoming a Nobel Laureate

Jeffrey Brown speaks to Scott London, co-editor of "Nobel Lectures in Peace," about the selection process for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    That follows two more takes on the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Jeffrey Brown starts with the whos and hows of the prize.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    And, given today's surprise, we thought a Peace Prize primer was in order.

    And, for that, we're joined by Scott London, a journalist who's covered and written on the Nobel Committee and Prize for many years. He's co-editor of the book "Nobel Lectures in Peace," which he worked on with his grandfather Irwin Abrams, a leading scholar on the Peace Prize.

    Scott, start by telling us who actually makes this decision. Who are the people on the committee?

  • SCOTT LONDON:

    Well, there are five people on the committee. It's appointed by the Storting, which is the Norwegian parliament.

    And they select from nominations that are sent in from around the world. And a number of people are qualified to nominate. So, the nominations come in literally from around the world. This year, they had a record 205 nominees, mostly individuals, but also about 33 organizations.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    You've — this is — this is the only prize, I guess, that comes out of Norway. And I gather you have met some of the people who had served on the committee.

    How diverse a group is it? Who — who are they? What can you tell us about them, their background, personally and professionally?

  • SCOTT LONDON:

    Well, they're — many of them are outstanding sort of public figures in Norway, very well-respected. Many of them have had long and distinguished careers in — in public life in Norway and in politics.

    Some of them — you know, this is a committee — the Norwegian Nobel Committee is elected by the Norwegian parliament. So, mostly, these are people who have already been in politics a long time. They don't have governmental power anymore.

    So, most of them, you know, have arrived at this position on the committee after long and distinguished public careers.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Now, there is always that — or often that question, are they sending a message, ideological or otherwise? Is there any evidence to help us figure that out one way or the other?

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