Record 237 entries for Nobel Prize

OSLO: A record 237 candidates are in the running for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Institute said today, with Chinese dissidents and the founders of the Internet known to be on the list.

“The final number of candidates is 237, including 38 organisations,” Geir Lundestad, the head of the Nobel Institute, told AFP.

That, he said “is the highest number we’ve ever had,” exceeding the previous record of 205 candidates to last year’s prize, which to widespread surprise went to US President Barack Obama. The names of nominees are kept secret by the institute for 50 years. But those who are entitled to nominate are allowed to reveal the name of the person or organisation they have proposed, if they wish to do so.

A number of Chinese dissidents are thus known to figure on this year’s list, including Liu Xiaobo, who was recently sentenced to 11 years in prison for co-authoring a manifesto calling for political reform in China.

Russian human rights group Memorial and its founding member Svetlana Gannushkina have also been nominated for the prestigious prize, as has the International Space Station.

Other nominees include three people widely regarded as the creators of the Internet: Americans Larry Roberts and Vint Cerf and Britain’s Tim Berners-Lee, whose inventions gave rise to sites like Twitter that helped unite opposition demonstrators in Iran. Thousands of people are eligible to submit nominations, including members of parliament and government worldwide, university professors, previous laureates and members of several international institutes.

The Nobel Committee that awards the prize is also eligible to nominate candidates.

The name of the winner will be announced in early October, and the award will be presented at a formal ceremony held on December 10.