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Potential Peace Prize winners are as varied as the issues facing humanity.

todayOctober 8, 2021 4

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In a year marked by climate change-driven disasters, political turmoil and the enduring devastation wrought by the coronavirus, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is choosing from a diverse array of 329 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The committee is scheduled to announce the recipient today at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo.

The candidates — whose names are not publicly revealed, but represent the third highest number of submissions in history — range from climate activists to political dissidents. Organizations including Reporters Without Borders and movements like Black Lives Matter are also in the running.

The pool of candidates has been chosen from the thousands of nominations submitted to the committee by academics, scientists, former winners and politicians from around the world.

Every year, speculation is rife over who will emerge from the intensely secretive voting process.

Scientists whose work has helped combat climate change and improve the environment have already been recognized in Nobel Prizes handed out earlier this week. Two scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for work that “laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how humanity influences it.” Two chemists were honored for findings that have helped lessen the impact of chemistry on the environment.

Greta Thunberg, the 18-year-old climate activist from Sweden, is widely thought to be in the running for the peace award. She has been a top contender for the prize since 2019, when Time magazine recognized her as its “Person of the Year.”

Among the hundreds of submissions, 95 are organizations. Last year, the $1 million cash prize went to the World Food Program, the United Nations agency that is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, for its efforts to combat a surge in global hunger amid the pandemic.

With the world still struggling to emerge from a pandemic that has killed more than 4.6 million people, observers have speculated that the Nobel committee might reward work being done to lessen the suffering. At the top of many shortlists is the U.N. World Health Organization, which has sought to act as the voice of authority amid a cacophony of misinformation surrounding the coronavirus.

Scientists whose work over decades led to the rapid development of vaccines that have changed the course of the pandemic, to the surprise of many, were passed over when awards for Medicine and Chemistry were announced earlier in the week. But the global vaccine initiative, Covax, could be selected for its ambitious, though struggling, efforts to promote equal access to the lifesaving vaccines.

The committee might wade into choppier geopolitical waters by selecting a prominent political dissident. Among those believed to be in the running are Svetlana Tikhanovskaya of Belarus, and Aleksei A. Navalny, whose strident opposition to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia galvanized some of the nation’s largest protests to his rule.

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todayOctober 8, 2021