Former President Barack Obama was taken aback when he learned he was receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, asking “For what?” “
Details of the moment, as well as tales of his political career, are outlined in his new book “A Promised Land”, which was published on Tuesday.
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Obama received the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize from the Norwegian Nobel Committee for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”, in the context of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He jokes in the book that when waking up from a phone call one October morning and hearing about the prize, he said to his wife and First Lady Michelle Obama: “I am receiving the Nobel Prize from. the peace.”
“It’s wonderful, honey,” she said before falling back to sleep.
He flew to Oslo, Norway to receive the award and wrote in his book that the crowd outside his hotel room made him think about the seriousness of this point in history.
“The idea that I, or anyone, could bring order to such chaos seemed laughable,” he wrote. “On one level, the crowds below were applauding an illusion.”
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After the ceremony was over, Obama recalls thinking, “Whatever you do won’t be enough, I heard their voices say. Try anyway. ”
Former secretary of the committee that chose Obama as the recipient, Geir Lundestad, also recalled in his own memoirs that Obama was surprised to be chosen, adding that he regretted giving him the award.
“No Nobel Peace Prize has ever attracted more attention than the 2009 Prize to Barack Obama,” Lundestad wrote in 2015. “Even many Obama supporters thought the prize was a mistake. In that sense, the committee did not achieve what it had achieved. hoped for. ”
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At the time, Lundestad faced a backlash from the committee for breaking with tradition to discuss the procedures for choosing a Nobel Laureate, a mostly secret process.