President Barack Obama received the Norwegian Nobel Peace Committee’s award for 2009 in Oslo, Norway yesterday. A lot of pro et contra has been said about this years award: “A Nobel for nothing”, “Too much too soon”, “Sorry, Obama, you don’t deserve it yet”, “Peace Prize to Obama, but it’s not his fault” etc. However even the wonder and critical American media lately have taken the Nobel Committee in defence. Like when CNN’s Fareed Zakaria rhetorically asks whether Mother Teresa abolished poverty before she got the Peace Prize. Further more he said: “Wiped Al-Baradei out nuclear weapons or did Woodrow Wilson ending all war? The prize is often given on basis of vision rather than goals achieved”.

Obama left this morning and it’s time for a bit of afterthoughts; what’s the impression – what does Norwegian think and did he convinced the people in Norway and around the world? Well, it depends on whom you ask I guess and again; not all people in Norway think the same or speaks with one tongue. It’s like other controversial matters, like death penalty or abortion: There are different opinions – in your country too (I hope!). So reading through the press tonight, here are some reactions and reflections:

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech made it:
Some says it was the best speech given in Norway and even more: this speech will go down in history as one of the truly great speeches of the Nobel Prize. Few have probably performed a Nobel speech at more convincing manner and he put it all in an ideal context, while he was talking about a real political world. He denied the gap that exists between the idealists and the realists who are very prominent in both the U.S. and in Norway which many thought was very liberating. Implicitly Obama demonstrated that he believes the war in Iraq is not a just war. By excluding the war in Iraq in his speech, Obama implied that he believes the war in Iraq is not a just war, like Afghanistan might be.
It was a wise speech in a “faded” voice – deep and principled and not a “Yes, We Can” speech – no reason for that under this circumstances. Also many pointed out that it was a good speech from the U.S. to the world. Obama for sure know how to do the right thing at the right time :-)

Continuing at the Grand Galla dinner:
In the evening, after eating reindeer fillet, smoked farm sand, fish and moose, Obama gave his toast speech – a Norwegian tradition. He opened to comment Thorbjorn Jagland – The Nobel Committee chairman’s – speech during the ceremony: “You gave a brilliant speech. I was almost convinced that I deserved award,”….. to laughter from all the guests at the Grand Hotel.
– Both my and Jagland’s message is to lift the people and things that are forgotten for up to an international level, as was done when Martin Luther King received the prize in 1964, said the president.
– The case of the civil rights movement was still uncertain, and no one was sure how it would evolve. How we thought of each other and in the minority.
– It helped to put wind behind the sails of the fight that make me and Michelle can stand here today, “said Obama.

Will we all gain from this prize?
A Norwegian journalist asked this question: How will you use the award and Obama’s answer was:
– It’s a big surprise to get the price. I have no doubt that others might have deserved it more. My task is to continue on a line that is important for the United States and a line that will ensure peace in the world: by fighting against nuclear weapons, combat climate change, creating stability in Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism.
– My goal is not to win a popularity contest or get a price.

There are still pro et contras left and the debate will go on. I think he increases his popularity in Norway and a lot of Norwegians hope he will send some more concretely and committed message to U.N. climate change meeting in Copenhagen.

My wife DianeCA, is an American who have lived in Norway for 10 years. You should also click to read her thoughts about Obama’s visit.
How about you: Did you notice that Obama was in Oslo yesterday – and the reason why?


  1. Renny and Diane, I am so proud to be an American tonight, especially living here in Norway. This was just a great evening! I’m still dancing inside!

    My kids think I am totally nuts! Oh well!


  2. As an American I am proud that this prestegious award was given to our president. It was awarded based on the man’s potential and not on his accomplishments. It is like providing a very gifted young violinist with an exceptional violin. The hope is that the student will fulfill his promise and rise to the caliber of the instrument. If the committee has chosen well, the world is the beneficiary.

  3. I must admit, while I admire Obama (and what he stands for) greatly, I don’t think the award of the Nobel prize was justified right now. Some politics does appear to seep into these awards once in a while. I remember being astonished in my teens when I realized Gandhi never got a Peace Prize while many others he inspired did.

  4. I read about this in our papers. I congratulate President Obama on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. I hope he will keep his promise and bring peace to the world.
    No more Wars.

  5. Enjoy your weekend, Renny and Diane!

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  11. Thanks Renny for sharing with us this important event wich took place in Oslo! I find so interesting to read your feeling and the temperature in Oslo about it!!!
    I put your link on my profil FB so that my french friends can have a look if they want on your article!
    I won’t miss to read this one of Diane as soon as possible!!!

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  16. good morning, renny! :) this is a really interesting post. i didn’t know obama got a nobel prize in norway. wow.

    i like obama but i honestly don’t think he’s proven himself yet. lol. :)

  17. We all are more than convinced that Obama is not the natural choice for Nobel Prize, but we all should admire his honesty and the way he handles the ceremony without beating his drum (which would sound very odd, IMO). Hats off to him and we all hope his similar honest effort towards peace.

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  20. Always good that we have differing opinions – thanks for this insight into what many people have been talking about.

  21. Hi Renny! I saw the CNN and excites me. But you know why? For I saw Karl Johan Street and the Grand Hotel and I remembered my beloved Norway and the world’s most beautiful city, my husband, my baby and I love walking in Oslo. Regarding Obama, soon to give the Nobel Peace, but as they say in Spain “It is impossible to please everybody.”
    A hug Renny

  22. Hi Renny!! I think as words of Shantanu’s comment and we don’t more wars!Very good!

  23. A very good tribute to a special event. Thank you for sharing all the excitement with me!!!

  24. I have mix feelings about this price to Obama….

  25. I have a lot of admiration for Obama…he’s like a breath of fresh air.

  26. Now you have motivated me to Google for his entire speech. He is such a great orator and I’m proud of him.

  27. Thanks for this great report on Obama’s visit from Norway’s perspective. I think the Nobel Peace Prize gives Obama a standard to shoot for during his administration–and I believe strongly he can take the challenge and achieve it.

  28. I am so glad he received the price and I trust he will implement what he stands for. I think the committee did the right thing. It’s not about what Obama did or didn’t to – yet – it’s about the accountability of the super-power!

  29. I really enjoyed reading your posts giving us your observations. I listened to part of the speech and thought it was moving. I’ll try to find the entire speech now. Thanks for talking about this.

  30. Obama may very well deserve one at some point, but I think awarding it to him in the infancy of his presidency makes a mockery out of Nobel’s legacy, the prize itself, and the hundreds and thousands of brave men and women who are struggling against ruthless dictators and opressors around the world and who truly deserve the prize.

  31. I think Obama will make Americans proud and will show the world that the USA is more than a “bully”.

    Go Obama!

  32. He sure gives hope about some change!!!

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  34. well at least there’s a hope for obama to make a different … even though not a big ones

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