The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize may recognize activists who helped unleash the revolutionary wave that swept through North Africa and the Middle East during the Arab Spring, Reuters reports.
Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian Internet activist and Google executive, Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement, one of its founders Israa Abdel Fattah, and Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni could therefore be among those in line for the award when it is announced on Oct. 7.
“My strong sense is that this (Nobel) committee and its leader want to reflect the biggest international issues as defined by a wide definition of peace,” said Jan Egeland, a former Norwegian deputy foreign minister.
“Following that logic, it will be the Arab Spring this year. Nothing comes close to that one as a defining moment of our time,” he told Reuters.
A record 241 candidates, of which 53 are organizations, have been nominated for this year’s award, worth 10 million crowns ($1.5 million). The five-strong prize committee will meet for the last time on Sept. 30.
Demonstrations and protests in 2011 involving hundreds of thousands of people have challenged the grip on power of autocratic rulers across the Arab world.