A RECORD 241 nominations have been submitted for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Norwegian jury has now begun the secretive process to select a winner, the panel’s spokesman said today.
Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, secret-spilling organization WikiLeaks and Cuban dissidents are among the candidates who have been publicly announced by those who nominated them.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee does not reveal the names of nominees and doesn’t discuss any candidates until the winner is announced in October.
Geir Lundestad, the permanent secretary of the committee, said that 188 individuals and 53 organizations have been nominated for the prestigious award:
We have a record number of nominations this year, but there has been a steady increase over time.
Last year the committee received 237 nominations.
The deadline for outside nominations was February 1, but the five-member committee added its own suggestions at a meeting last night, said Lundestad, who doesn’t have voting rights.
Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his nonviolent struggle for human rights in his homeland. The award infuriated China, which accused the Nobel committee of honoring a criminal.
Lundestad said the impact of the prize was exceptional:
We have never before experienced that the prize has been discussed at the highest level in governments around the world.