The former director of Norway’s Nobel Institute revealed this week that he regrets the committee’s decision to give the 2009 Nobel Peace award to President Obama.
Geil Lundestad, director at the institute for 25 years, said in his just-published memoir that he and the committee had unanimously decided to grant the award to Mr. Obama just after his election in 2009 more in hopes of aiding the American president to achieve his goals on nuclear disarmament, rather than in recognition of what Mr. Obama had already accomplished.
Looking back over Mr. Obama’s presidency, Mr. Lundestad said, granting him the award did not fulfill the committee’s expectations.
“[We] thought it would strengthen Obama and it didn’t have this effect,” he told the Associated Press in an interview.
The award so early in his term appeared to take the Obama White House by surprise, and Mr. Lundestad said U.S. officials privately asked if a Nobel Prize-winner had ever skipped the awards ceremony.
Normally the Nobel committee’s decision regarding recipients remains private, and Mr. Lundestad’s frank and revealing remarks regarding internal decisions have caused a stir in Norway, detailing the politicking and compromises that have gone into determining the annual laureate.
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“Even many of Obama’s supporters thought that the prize was a mistake,” Mr. Lundestad said. In the book, he expressed regret that the decision had been based in a hope for the future rather than recognition of past accomplishments, and that their expectations for Mr. Obama were not fulfilled.