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2017 Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

NBC News logo NBC News 10/6/2017

University of Chicago Graduate School of Business professor Richard H. Thaler. (Photo by Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis via Getty Images) 2017 Nobel Prize laureates and other notable winners (Slideshow by Photo Services)

LONDON — The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

The Nobel Committee honored the Geneva-based group "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."

ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations from around 100 different countries around the globe. The committee said ICAN has given the movement toward the world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigour.

“We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time,” the committee said. “Some states are modernizing their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea.”

Announcing the prize, committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen, said that "through its inspiring and innovative support for the U.N. negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress."

The Nobel committee emphasized that the next steps towards attaining a world free of nuclear weapons must involve the nuclear-armed states and is calling upon these states to initiate negotiations to gradual elimination of the world’s 15,000 nuclear weapons.

The committee received 318 nominations for this year’s Peace Prize, including 215 individuals and 103 organizations. It’s the second highest number of nominations ever. The record of 376 candidates was set last year. The names of the nominees are not announced in advance and can’t be revealed for another 50 years.

In 2016, the Peace Prize was awarded to President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end and initiating negotiations between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 97 times to 130 Nobel Laureates — 104 individuals and 26 organizations — between 1901 and 2016.

The founder of the Nobel Prize, Alfred Nobel, was interested in social issues and was engaged in the peace movement. His acquaintance with Bertha von Suttner, who was awarded the 1905 Nobel Peace Prize, influenced his own views on peace.

There are suggestions Nobel’s interest in peace was in part because his inventions, including dynamite, were used in warfare and assassination attempts. 

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