Nobel Peace Prize 2024: Too Fast and Premature, IPB!


Fredrik S. Heffermehl | Nobel Peace Prize Watch – TRANSCEND Media Service

6 Aug 2023 – It was sad, indeed, to see even IPB, the venerable International Peace Bureau, in a 4 August press release, once again undermining the peace legacy of Alfred Nobel. Both came to life in the 1890s, emanating from the same sources. IPB has long condoned the Norwegian misuse of Nobel´s great prize for general disarmament and did so again when it announced plans to nominate 3 organizations for the 2024 Nobel peace prize, all for conscientious objection, one in Russia, one in Ukraine and one in Belarus.

The dilemma here, simply put, is whether we shall insist, as our legal right, that the Norwegian custodians respect the fundamental change that Nobel had in mind or forever condone that militarist, US/NATO-friendly politicians keep using Nobel´s prize for everything else. IPB must have wished to assist protesters in urgent danger of landing in jail, but I still think its Board should take ample time for reflection on what Nobel intended and how the prize can best serve the peace movement´s goals. The issue concerns every entity of the peace movement, everywhere.  I hope the discussion will lead to IPB sending a more adequate nomination, or in the least formulating a better, more relevant justification.

I raise the issue as a peace activist in Norway and member of the IPB Steering Committee and manager of an affiliate IPB secretariat in Oslo through 15+ Years. And as a lawyer who rediscovered the entirely forgotten testament of Nobel in 2007. The prize is based on and bound by his will of 1895. The awarders have a legal obligation to read it and determine what he actually intended to achieve. After 15 years of intensive efforts, three books, a thousand articles, I struggle to understand why the antimilitarist peace movement, does not clamor for its legal right to a yearly money reward of US$ 1 million and a tool that strikes at the heart of global militarism.

In 2012 I obtained an order from the Swedish Foundations Authority that the Nobel Foundation must first study, then respect, then discipline its Norwegian sub-committees (Parliament and Nobel Committee) to do its best to stimulate global co-operation on a demilitarized world order. IPB and all who wish to end militarism should insist that they do so. The late president of IPB, Bruce Kent, fully supported this and the claim that the mismanagement of the prize deserved criminal prosecution. Nobel´s intention was not about climate, human rights, his goal was not to remove a weapon here and stop a war there, but a change of the system, a determined effort to end all wars, encourage global co-operation and building a demilitarized world order.

In my books I have described how the trustees consistently and deliberately break the law and ignore Nobel´s intention. They claim that the prize is not for disarmament, brazenly defying the express language in Nobel´s will on “abolition or reduction” of the military. But IPB intends to praise the committee and the world´s most prestigious prize “for peace and harmony”. No, peace by disarmament is the purpose that the prize should propagate. His goal should be at the heart of all the committee´s presentations of laureates – and the reasoning in all nominations.

The Nobel committee has used the word “peace” as a tool for destroying the prize, ignoring Nobel´s specific instructions has enabled it to hand out a prize for everyone, every purpose, except the global disarmament Nobel wished it to support. After my first protest in 2007, it started to invoke specific criteria in the will, claiming that “this year´s prize is in full compliance with the will of Nobel”. The method is wrong, it is not what we may wish Nobel´s words to mean that counts, but what he actually intended.

The custodians seem so determined to ignore their legal obligations that it seems useless to nominate, but we still recommend nomination of the type of people that Nobel had in mind in an email to – and with a copy to us, (email is valid, just ignore pressure to use their online form) – we have plans to finance and hand out “The Real Nobel Peace Prize”, hopefully already in 2023, so please inform us of suitable candidates, people/organizations who work for global demilitarization.

P.S. (since it is 6 August): I have long been convinced that abolition of nuclear weapons will never succeed without the total change of mind and end of militarism Nobel hoped his prize to achieve.



Fredrik S. Heffermehl                  Tomas Magnusson


Fredrik S. Heffermehl, cand. jur, LLM NYU, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and ex-Vice President of the International Peace Bureau. He is the author of The Nobel Peace Prize, What Nobel Really Wanted (Praeger, 2010 – expanded versions in Chinese, Swedish, Finnish, Spanish and [2014] Russian). fredpax@online.no

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 7 Aug 2023.

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