Prof. Wallensteen on the Nobel Peace Prize


Peter Wallensteen is the Starmann Professor of Peace Research at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute and Senior Professor in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Sweden’s Uppsala University:

"The choice of the Nobel Committee to award the Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is surprising and timely. It is in accordance with the will of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor whose will created the five Nobel Prizes, including the one for Peace. He said that this prize should go to the one that had done work for three things, including the abolition or reduction of standing armies (the other two were for fraternity between nations and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses). He also said that it should be recent work.

Until now, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has only been known among experts and has a good reputation for professionalism. Almost all United Nations Member States are part of this organization. Syria is, of course, the most recent addition. Those who are not members are Angola, Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan. Israel and Myanmar have signed but not ratified yet. The Prize to OPCW may help speed up the process of making the universal coverage of the prohibition complete.

It is particularly important for the Middle East to become chemical-weapons free, as this is the region where there has been the most recent use of such weapons, notably by Iraq in 1988 and in Syria 2013. The Committee also pointed out, in its announcement, that the U.S . and Russia still have not destroyed all their chemical weapons, although they both have reduced them sharply. It is a signal that the two should speed up their process of elimination. A successful and complete elimination of chemical weapons sets a precedent also for moving ahead toward the elimination of other categories of weapons, notably nuclear weapons."

Contact: Peter Wallensteen, 574-631-0935,