New Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reacts during his rally in Ambo, about 120km west of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on April 11, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Zacharias Abubeker (Photo credit should read ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/Getty Images)

Ethiopian Prime Minister receives 2019 Nobel Peace Prize

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Since March 1901, the Nobel Peace Prize has been given annually to those who have contributed to the promotion of global peace between nations. Chosen from a total of 301 nominees, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, worth around $900,000, was awarded to Abiy Ahmed on October 11 in Oslo, Norway. 

Abiy Ahmed has several degrees, including a doctorate degree in peace and security issues and a master’s degree in transformational leadership. After Ahmed became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in April 2018, he brought in more liberalized reforms, shaking up the nation that was previously considered tightly controlled. He freed thousands of activists from jail and allowed those who have been exiled to return. After his appointment Prime Minister occurred, many women under him have been selected for higher positions as well. According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, he was rewarded “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his clear action to resolve the border conflict with neighboring nation Eritrea.” 

Numerous African world leaders have been quick to congratulate Ahmed following his win. Somalia’s President Mohamed Farmaajo stated his thoughts on Twitter by saying that Ahmed is a “deserving winner” and that he “enjoyed working with him on strengthening regional co-operation.” Liberia’s President George Weah voiced his “warmest felicitations for this noble feat,” while Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo also expressed that the award was “a reminder to us all that peace is one of the most critical ingredients needed to make Africa successful.” 

On the other hand, some are not satisfied with these results. Ethnic rivalry sparked following Abiy Ahmed’s efforts to resolve the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. “No doubt some people will think this year’s prize is being awarded too early,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. “The Committee believes it is now Abiy Ahmed’s efforts deserve recognition and encouragement.” Many people were quick to point out that it was not the first time the Nobel Committee awarded the peace prize to a new leader early in his term, whose lasting achievements were still uncertain. 

In 2009, the prize awarded to former US President Barack Obama, only nine months into his term, due to “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” When Obama’s demilitarization efforts faltered, the Norwegian Nobel Committee was there to support him by stating that that prize awarded based on aspirations, not achievements. Although there is still ongoing dispute regarding Abid Ahmed’s attainment, the prize committee states that they will continue to award those whose efforts to settle peace stand out.

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