The Nobel Prize committee faces another storm of attack, as the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize refused to attend the conference, which is set to begin from today, December 9, 2019. Traditionally, the Nobel laureates hold an international press a day before the official ceremony of the prize distribution.
Another Embarrassment for the Nobel Committee
The Nobel Academy since 2018 has been broiled into several controversies. The cancellation of the Nobel Prize Award 2018 after the allegation of one of the jury members of the Committee involved in a sex scandal was a grave embarrassment for the academy.
This years’ literature award to the Austrian writer Peter Handke who was alleged of committing war crimes in Yugoslavia during 1990s invited strong criticisms. The recent fallout of the two external members leaving the academy’s committee has exposed the internal weakness and loopholes in the existing systems of the prize selection committee.
Despite the committee’s relentless efforts to change minds, Abiy Ahmed’s refusal to participate in the press conference for receiving his prize is a big insult to injury for the committee.
According to the Nobel Committee, “the Ethiopian PM is refusing even to field questions from the young students who traditionally are offered that opportunity at an event hosted by Save the Children.” The 43 years-old Nobel laureate is likely to stay away from the questions of the international media.
Reasons for Declining the International Press
Olav Njolstad, the director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute and secretary for the committee, stated, “to convince Abiy and attend at least one of the four press conferences scheduled over the three-day ceremony”.
Citing the Abiy’s decline as a setback for the academy, Njolstad continued, “We have been very clear about this and have clarified that there are several reasons we find this highly problematic.”
Njolstad shared the importance of the news conference and stated that the academy mostly conferred these prizes to those who believed in the freedom of expression and independent press are vital for peace.
Abiy was given the prize in the recognition of his contribution to foster peace with neighboring country Eritrea. He brought a drastic change in the country by carrying out democratic reforms that include the release of political prisoners.
Defending Abiy, the press secretary of Prime Minister, Billene Seyoum, commented that Abiy’s decision to avoid participation in the news conference was due to internal problems and urgent domestic situations of the country.
Billene commented about the award, “The Prime Minister is humbled and grateful for the recognition and he has previously stated that ‘it is 10% celebration and 90% responsibility for him to work harder for peace’ which he is doing each day”.
I’m Roshan, a journalist, blogger and music lover. I like covering global news related to finance, business, and technology. Focusing on the collection of true and reliable information, I rely on working by conducting interviews with business leaders and talking to the inside sources of companies.
You can reach out to me at: [email protected]