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ElBaradei wins Nobel Peace Prize

Mohamed ElBaradei and the IAEA have won the Nobel Peace Prize

(Keystone)

The 2005 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded jointly to Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which he leads.

Initiators of a Swiss project to nominate 1,000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize congratulated ElBaradei but said they were disappointed not to win.

The Nobel committee said on Friday that it recognised ElBaradei and the IAEA's "efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way".

The Egyptian former diplomat has headed the IAEA, the United Nation's nuclear watchdog, as it grappled with the situation in Iraq and ongoing efforts to prevent North Korea and Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He began his third term at the IAEA this year.

The news was welcomed by European leaders, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was delighted, adding that ElBaradei had guided this "vital mission" with "great skill".

The $1.29 million (SFr1.64 million) prize will be presented in December in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

But the environmental group, Greenpeace, said it was shocked that the peace prize had gone to ElBaradei and the IAEA, arguing that the agency's promotion of atomic energy had increased the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation.

A record 199 nominations were received for the prize this year, including one Swiss-backed entry.

The 1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 project was launched in 2003 to increase recognition of the work done by thousands of women around the world to promote peace and justice.

Disappointed

Reacting to the decision, the project said it was disappointed but proud of its achievements.

"We were ready for success and disappointment," Rebecca Vermot, the project's manager, told swissinfo. "What really disappointed us was that it went to a really male-dominated body."

In its official communiqué, the project added it was proud "that within less than three years we have brought attention to the outstanding work done by these women in the cause of promoting peace".

However, Vermot said that the project would continue its work. The organisers are bringing out a book containing profiles and pictures of all 1,000 women.

They have also organised a photo exhibition, which opens in Zurich on October 14, which they hope to send round the world.

"We are receiving mails from women from all over the world who say the nomination itself gave them lots of courage and energy to continue their work," Vermot said.

swissinfo

Key facts

Born in Egypt in 1942, Mohamed ElBaradei studied law in Cairo and did his doctorate in New York.
He has just been re-elected for his third term at IAEA for the third time.
He was previously at the Egyptian UN mission in New York.
His wife works as a children's nurse in Vienna. He has a daughter, who is a lawyer, and a son, a biotechnology expert.

end of infobox

In brief

The 1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 Foundation was set up to increase recognition of the work done by thousands of women around the world to promote peace and justice.

The organisers are bringing out a book containing profiles and pictures of all 1,000 women. They have also organised a photo exhibition which they hope to send round the world.

The book and exhibition are being launched in Zurich on October 14.

end of infobox


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