September 04, 2023

Nobel Flip Flop


Nobel Flip Flop
Peace. Patrick Fore, Unsplash.

In 2022, the Nobel Foundation, responsible for hosting the annual Nobel Prize ceremony and banquet in Stockholm, excluded the Russian and Belarusian ambassadors from the awards ceremony due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Iran has also been excluded because of that government’s clampdown on protests.

On August 31, The Swedish organization announced its decision to reinstate its past practice of inviting all ambassadors to the event (which would have meant Russia, Belarus, and Iran were now un-uninvited). The foundation said that the choice aimed “to reach out as widely as possible with the values and messages that the Nobel Prize stands for.” The foundation elaborated that, even last year, they awarded the Peace Prize to human rights activists from Russia and Belarus and to Ukrainians who documented Russian war crimes, even though officials from those countries were not invited to the event. 

The reversal led to a considerable outcry, prompting prominent Swedish politicians of various parties to declare a boycott of this year's Nobel Prize ceremony.

Then, a few days later, the foundation released a new statement, saying that strong reaction to their decision “completely overshadowed this message.” The foundation backtracked: “We, therefore, choose to repeat last year’s exception to regular practice – that is, to not invite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus, and Iran to the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm.”

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