A Nobel for the Peace Corps?
A modest proposal


Yet Alfred Nobel, in his will, has a primary criterion for his peace prize: “fraternity between nations.” He also says that his prize must go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work” during “the preceding year,” but that’s a different issue, maybe for another time.

The U.S. Peace Corps meets Nobel’s criterion of “fraternity between nations” very nicely. The agency has three stated goals: to help the nations served; to promote a better understanding of Americans; and to promote a better understanding, by Americans, of other peoples. Few contend that the Corps has failed in the meeting of those goals.

It’s true that the Nobel Committee likes to award the U.N. and its agencies. It likes to do that even more than it likes to mark anniversaries. And the committee might balk at awarding a national agency, such as the Peace Corps. Also, the committee has recently honored America, in a way, with the 2009 prize to President Obama. Maybe the men and women in Oslo would regard it as too soon for another “American” award.

Still, it’s worth a shot: A 50th anniversary is a golden opportunity.

Who can nominate persons or institutions for the Nobel Peace Prize? A great many can. Among the eligible nominators are “members of national assemblies and governments.” A group of congressmen — bipartisan — should nominate the U.S. Peace Corps. They have until February 1 to do it. Many less deserving institutions and persons have won the prize; many more will win in the future.

— Jay Nordlinger is a senior editor of National Review who has written a history of the Nobel Peace Prize, forthcoming from Encounter Books.


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