US President Barack Obama, who won the Nobel Prize for 2009 “recognises” he is not in the same category of other recipients of this coveted award like Nelson Mandela from South Africa and Mother Teresa of India.
Hours before Obama boarded the Air Force One for Oslo in Norway to receive the Noble Peace Prize for the year 2009, the White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs said, “The President understands and again will also recognise that he doesn’t belong in the same discussion as Mandela and Mother Teresa.”
“But I think what the President is proud of is the steps that this Administration has taken to reengage the world; that through that re-engagement we see some of that is to bring increased peace and stability to this big planet,” the spokesman, said.
He is proud that the committee recognised that this nation has once again reemerged and engaging the world in greater pursuits, Mr. Gibbs said in response to a question.
The White House spokesman said the US President in his acceptance speech would certainly elaborate the issue of accepting the peace prize at a time when his country is at war in Afghanistan.
“The President will address the notion that last week he authorised a 30,000-person increase in our commitment to Afghanistan, and this week accepts a prize for peace,” Mr. Gibbs said.
When specifically asked about Obama’s thought on Mahatma Gandhi, Gibbs said: “There are a number of people, including Gandhi, that obviously he would be interested in getting their thoughts on.”
On October 9, the Noble Peace Prize Committee had announced that Obama has won the Peace Prize for the year 2009 for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.
Humbled by the prize, Mr. Barack Obama said in a statement which he read from the Rose Garden of the White House that he will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.
“To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize, men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace,” Mr. Obama said.
The White House has said the American president plans to donate the prize money of about USD 1.4 million to charities. Gibbs today said no decision has been made on it so far.