Obama being honored by the Nobel Peace Prize has puzzled many, including Michael Steele, head of the Republican National Committee, who asked: What has he done?
Thorbjorn Jagland, Nobel chairman singled out Obama’s effort to heal the divide between the West and the Muslim world as one of the reasons. Obama gave an incredibly inspiring speech in Cairo. With the speech sprouted dozens of actions, including increasing student abroad programs and other educational, artistic and commercial exchanges.
As for reducing international conflict, we need only look at the Presidents budget that dramatically increases funding for diplomacy. The Civilian Stabilization Initiative will fund teams of rapidly deployable workers with expertise in infrastructure development, mediation, transitional governing, the rule of law and other areas critical to stabilizing war-torn states. The Secretary of State will fund 250 full time employees and training funds for 2,000.
His leadership role in UN disarmament and arms control and his vision of a world without nuclear weapons is another clear reason he was given this award. The Republican time of “going it alone” and throwing wrenches in the works at the UN is, thankfully, over, Mr. Steele.
Ours is now a country that values what the majority of the world’s population values: cooperation and collaboration. Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize affirms the joy that springs from the belief that the US will play a constructive role in resolving global challenges and international conflicts.
Peace is not just the absence of war but also the lifting of every voice to promote justice and peace. I attended the celebratory concert after Obama’s election at the First United Methodist Church organized by Sue Coffee. Now that he has won this prize, the world must be experiencing the same kind of joy and uplifting expectations we felt on that memorable evening. People here at home and around the world will continue to recognize him as the great leader he is as the countless programs, policies and resources he directs toward peace take hold.