Combating Chemical Weapons - Nobel Peace Center

Nobel Peace Center


  1. OPCW inspectors demonstrate the use of hazardous materials suits at a chemical weapons site in Libya.

    Photo: Paolo Pellegrin / Magnum Photos for the Nobel Peace Center
  2. Photo: Guus Schonewille / Epa / Scanpix

Combating Chemical Weapons

12 Dec 2013–05 Dec 2014

Nobel Peace Prize exhibition 2013: Combating Chemical Weapons

In the ninth consecutive Nobel Peace Prize Exhibiton, the audience for the first time gets to experience how the OPCW inspectors monitor, identify and destroy chemical weapons. This year’s photographer is the world renowned Paolo Pellegrin from the photo agency Magnum Photos.

Paolo Pellegrin has followed the inspectors closely in the weeks after it was announced that The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. With American war correspondent and writer Scott Anderson’s short texts, Pellegrin’s graphic and strong black and white images provide a rare insight into the daily lives of the weapon inspectors.

– Paolo Pellegrin has had a unique access to document the dangerous work of the OPCW, and a photographer of his caliber gives this year’s Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition a genuine power, says Bente Erichsen, Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Center. –Pellegrin’s images allows the public close access to some of the unknown heroes of the world, and we very much look forward to opening the doors in December.

The images in the exhibition Combating Chemical Weapons are taken in Libya, the Netherlands and Belgium, and in an Eastern European country, and documents OPCW’s work abolishing chemical weapons of today and from WWI.

Very few have been allowed insight into the daily work of the weapon inspectors. In this exhibition, visitors can see and experience some of the hazardous work themselves.

The making of the official Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition is an annual occurrence that spans a mere eight weeks, from the Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee announces the new Peace Prize laureate, to the exhibition is opened by representatives from the OPCW in December. Combating Chemical Weapons is the ninth Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition in the row.

The celebration of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate continues with free entry for all 12-30 December. The exhibition period is 12 December 2013 through 23 November 2014.

The exhibition is supported by Mint of Norway.

See the digital version of the exhibition:

Lend an ear to photographer Paolo Pellegrin and author Scott Anderson talk about the making of the exhibition:

In addition to being shown at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, the exhibition has also been on display in various Peace Prize laureates’ headquarters over the years: e.g. the exhibition on the EU was shown at Parlamentarium in Brussels, the one on IAEA and Mohamad ElBaradei was shown in Vienna, Austria and the exhibition on Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank was shown in Dakha, Bangladesh.

By tradition, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate opens the photo exhibition personally during the Nobel Days in December.

If you read Norwegian, you can follow our exhibition blog on the making of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize laureate exhibition.

Do you want to know more about the Nobel Peace Prize 2013? Watch Thorbjørn Jagland’s lecture on OPCW held at the Nobel Peace Center on Saturday 12 October:



2011 – SHEROES
The exhibition portrays the three brave heroines and laureates Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee from Liberia and Tawakkol Karman from Yemen. Norwegian photographer Espen Rasmussen accompanied the Peace Prize laureates during several hectic days in November before they arrived in Oslo to receive the Peace Prize in December.

2010 Liu Xiaobo – I have No Enemies
In Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo’s defendant’s speech made on 23 December 2009, prior to him being sentenced to eleven years’ imprisonment, he stated: “I have no enemies”. These words inspired the Nobel Peace Center to create a portrait of the imprisoned peace activist. The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate exhibition told the story of Liu Xiaobo’s brave and sustained struggle for fundamental human rights in China: from participation in the Tiananmen protests of 1989 and up until Charter 08.

2009 Barack H. Obama – A Call to Action
Barack H. Obama regarded the Nobel Peace Prize as “a call to action”. The exhibition presented the connections between Alfred Nobel’s will and Obama’s visions and efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and multilateral cooperation, and a world free from nuclear weapons. The exhibition consisted of two parts: In the Entry Hall visitors were met by a series of large photo portraits of President Barack H. Obama. The photos were by photographers Callie Shell and Pete Souza, who have followed Obama closely for several years. The second part was a journey of discovery through time and space, disarmament and diplomacy. It also featured worldwide reactions to the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama.

2008 Martti Ahtisaari – The Broker
During three decades, the former Finnish President has played a vital role in the peace and reconciliation work done in Namibia, Kosovo, Iraq, Northern Ireland and the Aceh Province in Indonesia. In 2008 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In this exhibition, Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen and BBC journalist Lyse Doucet gave a unique glimpse into the work of Martti Ahtisaari.

2007 Al Gore and the IPCC – Fever
The exhibition, like the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, was divided in two parts. The world renowned photographer Anton Corbijn created six portraits of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore, bringing out sides of Gore that are rarely seen: Playful and casual, surrounded by the nature he works to preserve. The exhibition also consisted of pictures and text from the article series ”A Globe in Crisis” that was featured in the Norwegian business newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. Photographer Ørjan F. Ellingvåg and journalist Frode Frøyland have covered the activity of the IPCC, The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change.

2006 – A fistful of dollars
The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate exhibition was about Mohammad Yunus and Grameen Bank. Photographer Linda Næsfeldt’s pictures present a man and an institution that give poor people hope and a possibility to create a dignified life for themselves.

2005 – Make Power, Not War
Mohamed ElBaradei considered the nuclear threat of today to be greater than ever before. IAEA controls over 900 facilities for nuclear power in 71 countries in order to prevent dissemination of nuclear weapons. At the same time, IAEA promotes civilian use of nuclear power and related technology. The exhibit highlighted this controversial double role.