Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is likely to be on the list for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end half a century of conflict with the FARC guerrillas, people familiar with the committee’s deliberations said.
A wild card entry for this year’s prize could be a Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education.
Former President Bill Clinton was once again a possible candidate for his charitable work.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which announces its decision on October 12, received a record number of nominations for this year’s award.
“The prize keeps gaining importance and attention,” said its Director Geir Lundestad. “Presidents, prime ministers, former laureates submitted many of the nominations … and we have plenty of new names as well as ‘old’ ones on the list.”
The committee, led by former Norwegian Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland, has drawn protest and extra publicity for the prize in recent years by awarding it to the European Union and U.S. President Barack Obama.
Harpviken said it would not choose a more conventional candidate such as a peace or democracy activist simply because its past decisions were questioned.
“They’ll pick a candidate with high moral integrity, a high profile and a global reach,” said Harpviken, who listed Yousufzai among his favorites. “These choices have weakened the reputation of the prize because they resonated very poorly with current sentiment… but Jagland doesn’t mind controversy.”
Other candidates are likely to include Russian dissidents Lyudmila Alexeyeva, the founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Svetlana Gannushkina, a long-time rights activist, and Liliya Shibanova, the head of an independent Russian election watchdog.
The Committee never reveals its list of candidates but a wide range of officials and organizations from all over the world have the right to submit nominations and many reveal their choices publicly.
The peace prize is one of five awards instituted by Alfred Nobel, the late Swedish industrialist and inventor, and is given to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.
First awarded in 1901, the prize includes 8 million Swedish crown (US$1.24 million) in cash. It will be presented on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
The committee received 259 nominations by last week’s deadline, including for 50 organizations, beating a 2011 record of 241 candidates.