Anti-Nuclear Weapons Group Receives Nobel Peace Prize

Listen here to learn about a major contender and why the prize is under some scrutiny.

By Saniya More SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is this year’s Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

The advocacy group was honored on Friday for its efforts in establishing the first treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

There was much speculation over contenders for the prize. One of the favored winners was Pope Francis, who has been favored to win since he was elected in 2013.

The Pope is known to be a voice for many issues, particularly those which concern refugees and migrants. He also played a key role in facilitating the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.

These are just some of the reasons he would be a worthy recipient, according to Rev. Chris Ballard from the St. James Roman Catholic Church in Syracuse.

“He certainly is a man who truly desires peace. As a world leader, he really tries to do his part,” Ballard said in a phone interview, the day before the announcement.

Despite its prestige and history, the Peace Prize has been the subject of controversy over the years. More recently, Burmese politician and 1991 Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticized for her poor handling of the Rohingya crisis, which has displaced over 300,000 people. 

Ahmed Meguid teaches Islamic and German philosophy at Syracuse University and says he believes the prize is subjective and ideological. 

“I don’t take it seriously at all,” he said at his office. “To me, the issue is not the Nobel Peace Prize—the issue is the greater context in which these terrible things are happening and nobody is talking about it.”

Ballard said he was optimistic about this year’s winner.

“Whoever gets the prize, I truly hope that they’re a person who has worked for peace, who loves peace,” he added.