1965 UNICEF - Nobel Peace Center

Nobel Peace Center


  1. Unicef's Executive Director Henry R. Labouisse accepted the Nobel Peace Prize medal and diploma on behalf of his organisation.

    Photo: Unicef
  2. A boy drinks milk. In 1953, Unicef provided milk powder and vitamins to all primary schools in the poorest parts of Iraq.

    Photo: Unicef


06 Oct 2015–26 Mar 2017

In 1965, the Nobel Peace Prize was for the first time awarded to someone working for childrens’ rights. Fifty years on, the Nobel archives opened, and the Nobel Peace Center shows in a new small exhibition how and why UNICEF received the Nobel Peace Prize.

“UNICEF’s work for peace is more in action than in words, and it is fundamental, wide reaching and positive. In my view, it must be valued higher than most other nominations I have dealt with.”

This is how Professor Torkel Opsahl described it in his account for the Nobel Committee prior to the 1965 award. This document, as well as all other records linked to the 1965 Nobel Peace Prize, has been locked up in the Nobel Committee’s archives. As per the rules, the archives only open to the public 50 years on. In the exhibition 1965 UNICEF we can for the first time tell the story of who nominated the organization, what other candidates who were considered, and why UNICEF was chosen.

UNICEF was founded by the UN in 1946 to help the children of Europe after WW2. In 1953, the organization became a permanent part of the UN, with a mandate to help children across the globe.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee described the establishment of UNICEF as a breakthrough for the brotherhood between nations, as the organization helped reduce the differences between poor and rich states. This way, the risk of war also diminished.
UNICEF was nominated in 1950, 1963, 1964 and in 1965, when they were awarded the Prize.

The exhibition is developed in collaboration with historian Carl Emil Vogt. Design by Bolt Design and Runa Klock with the Nobel Peace Center.

The exhibition is on display in our smallest exhibition space. It is part of a series of smaller exhibitions at the Nobel Peace Center to feature selected Nobel Peace Prize laureates. These exhibitions are sometimes staged as a commentary to a larger exhibition, and sometimes in response to an important recent event or anniversary.

These are the previous exhibitions in the series:

1971 Willy Brandt
2010 Liu Xiaobo
1964 Martin Luther King, Jr.