The Norwegian Nobel Committee and Institute
«The adjudication needed for the award of the Peace Prize shall be carried out by the committee of the Norwegian Storting referred to in the will, known as the Norwegian Nobel Committee». (Statutes of the Nobel Foundation, § 6).
According to Alfred Nobel's will, the prize to champions of peace is to be awarded by a committee "of five persons, to be elected by the Norwegian Storting". The rules subsequently adopted by the Storting state that the members of the Nobel Committee are elected for six years terms, and can be re-elected. As far as possible, the composition of the Committee is to reflect the relative strengths of the political parties in the Storting. The Committee chooses its own chairman and deputy chairman. The Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute serves as the Committee's secretary.
During the early decades of the Committee's work, it was normal for both incumbent representatives of the Storting and government ministers to be members. The first Committee thus consisted of Prime Minister Johannes Steen, Foreign Minister Jørgen Løvland, Storting representative John Lund, Professor of Law Bernhard Getz, and the national bard Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
Committee member criteria changes
With this heavy representation by prominent politicians, it became difficult over time to convince the surrounding world that the Committee was not influenced in its work by Norwegian authorities. In 1936, in connection with the Nobel Peace Prize award to Carl von Ossietzky, the practice was changed so as to bar current members of the Government from sitting on the Committee. In 1977, out of continued regard for the Committee's independence, a further restriction was imposed whereby current members of the Storting can not be elected to the Nobel Committee. At the same time, the Committee changed its name from the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Storting to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Nobel Committee meeting room
The Nobel Committee conducts all its meetings in a special committee room at the Nobel Institute. The interior was designed by architect Carl Berner. On the walls of the committee room there are photo portraits of all individual laureates and the logos of all prize-winning institutions and organizations.
THE NOBEL INSTITUTE
"For assistance with the scrutiny necessary for the prize adjudication and for promoting the objectives of the Foundation in other ways, the prize-awarding bodies may establish Nobel Institutes." (Statutes of the Nobel Foundation, § 12).
Nobel Committee secretariat
The Norwegian Nobel Institute was established 1 February, 1904, tasked with supporting the Nobel Committee in its review of nominations and candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. According to § 12 of the Nobel Foundation statutes, "each Nobel Institute shall be under the leadership of the prize-awarding body that established it."
The Director of the Institute is the Nobel Committee's permanent secretary, and the Institute can be regarded as the Committee's secretariat. The events in December are all planned and coordinated through this office.
The first few years the Institute rented offices in Victoria Terrasse in downtown Oslo, but by May 1905 the move was made to the present building in Henrik Ibsens gate 51. The award ceremony was moved there the same year, having previously taken place in the Storting (Norwegian Parliament). The building, originally constructed in 1867 as a private residence, had by then undergone extensive renovation.
Internal and external functions
The Institute contains offices, a meeting room, the Grand Hall, a research department, library and reading room. The Nobel Committee meets in a special meeting room devoted exclusively to this purpose. The tradition has gradually developed of using the Institute’s Grand Hall both for the October announcement of the year's Peace Prize in October and for the Laureate's press conference on 9 December, the day before the award ceremony in Oslo City Hall.
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