The 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, given out by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, was awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. President Santos has been actively trying to end the civil war that has been going on for 50 years in Colombia between government military forces and the FARC, the oldest group of Columbia’s left- wing rebels, guerrilla forces.
The Nobel Peace Prize, created by Alfred Nobel, is awarded annually to individuals who have made the most significant progress towards the abolishment of standing armies and the promotion of holding the peace. It is awarded by a five-member committee, which is elected by the Parliament of Norway. It was first awarded on December 10th, 1901 in Olso, Norway and has been awarded 97 times over the course of 114 years. Although the prize is awarded for recent efforts and is often seen as a way to encourage future efforts towards peace, it is often criticized by those who deem that it is based off of opinion and tends to be erroneous.
Although many of the citizens in Colombia voted against peace with the guerilla forces, President Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño were able to negotiate a ceasefire for the time being. The civil war has already claimed the lives of over 200,000 people and have caused about 6 million people to evacuate from their homes. Although there is uncertainty about Colombia’s future and whether civil war will erupt again in the near future, the efforts of President Santos will save many lives during the period of ceasefire. Temporarily stopping a war that has been raging on before the president had even taken office, was the key event that allowed for peace in the world during 2016.
The people of Colombia are split on whether the nation should focus on defeating the guerrilla forces rather than making peace with them, but President Santos is a strong advocate for peace. He claims that he will work towards peace up until he leaves office, and wants to encourage those living in Colombia to progress towards peace rather than conflict in both domestic and foreign affairs.