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President Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel (noh-BEL) Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize Committee announced the news from Oslo, Norway, on Friday. The Peace Prize Committee said they chose President Obama because of his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen. . .cooperation between peoples."

Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has recognized outstanding achievements in five areas: physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. An economics prize was added in 1968.

Surprising News

The announcement took people around the world, including the President, by surprise. One reason for the surprise is that Obama has been President for only a short time.

"I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee," Obama told reporters.

In explaining their decision, the Peace Prize Committee talked about Obama's vision of a world without nuclear weapons, or weapons that can cause massive destruction. They also mentioned the President's belief in negotiation, or discussion, as a key tool for resolving conflicts among countries.

A Special Day at the White House

The President was asleep when the Nobel news was announced at 5 a.m. Eastern Time. He said that after he woke up, his daughters came in to congratulate him. But they also let him know he would be sharing his big day with the furry member of the family.

"Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize," Malia said, adding, "and it is Bo's birthday!"

The Peace Prize in America


The Nobel Prize is named for Alfred Nobel. Nobel was a Swedish scientist and businessman, and the inventor of dynamite. Nobel Prize winners receive a medal, a diploma, or certificate, and a cash award. (President Obama says he will donate the cash award to charity.)

President Obama is the fourth U.S. President to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Former President Jimmy Carter won the award in 2000. President Theodore Roosevelt won it in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson won it in 1919.
 
Other Americans who have won the Nobel Peace Prize include former Vice President Al Gore, in 2007, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in 1964.

On December 10, President Obama will travel to Oslo, Norway, for the awards ceremony.

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Scholastic Editor Kaaren Sorensen edited this report.

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