The World Food Program will receive its Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday, an event that is very different from the traditional celebration in the Norwegian capital due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In Oslo, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, will make a webcast statement that David Beasley, the head of the UN agency, will give an acceptance speech from Rome, where he is based. The body received the prestigious award for its efforts to fight hunger.
This year, 12 winners were named in the six categories. All but the Peace Prize have been awarded in low-profile ceremonies across Europe and the United States in the past few days in the locations where the winners live.
A Nobel Prize is associated with a monetary award of 10 million crowns ($ 1.1 million) that can be shared in some cases – diplomas and gold medals.
Traditionally, the lavish Nobel ceremonies all take place in Stockholm on December 10th, the anniversary of the death of award founder Alfred Nobel, with the exception of the Peace Prize, which takes place in Oslo in neighboring Norway. Nobel wanted it that way, for reasons he kept to himself.
“The pandemic has presented us all with difficult obstacles. We were reminded of the importance of cross-border cooperation in solving humanitarian crises and that with the help of science we can find solutions to the challenges we face, “said Lars Heikensten, Managing Director of the Nobel Foundation.
The Norwegians had initially planned a smaller event with 100 guests instead of the traditional ceremony with around 1,000 guests. However, plans were changed again in November when the WFP and the Norwegian Nobel Committee said there would be no personal award ceremony.
The Oslo-based committee added that depending on how the pandemic evolves, Beasley could possibly give his Nobel Lecture at Oslo City Hall in 2021, followed by a Nobel Banquet.
The concert after the Nobel Peace Prize – the musical homage to the laureate first held in 1994 – was also canceled. In the past it has drawn big names from the entertainment industry.
Later on Thursday, in place of the traditional glamorous ceremony in Stockholm, a webcast event with members of the award-winning institutions will showcase the discoveries and achievements that are being awarded. The Swedish King Carl XVI. Gustaf will attend.
Jan M. Olsen from Copenhagen, Denmark contributed to this report.