China’s pharmacologist Tu Youyou received her 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine here on Thursday.
Kaci Kullmann Five, chairperson of the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee, said at the ceremony that this year’s peace prize fits “to the core” Alfred Nobel’s will and his vision of fraternity, disarmament and peace-building forums.
The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, made up of groups representing trade unions, industry, trade and human rights, was rewarded for its “decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy”.
Last year, when the prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi were receiving their award, a Mexican student without an official invitation, ran onto the stage waving his country’s flag, which he had smuggled into the heavily guarded ceremony. He was not a guest, but managed to get through the security checkpoints.
The UGTT, the Human Rights League, the Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), and the Order of Lawyers orchestrated a lengthy and thorny “national dialogue” between the Islamists of the Ennahda Party and their opponents.
It won the award for the role it played in the peaceful transition of power in Tunisia in a region struggling with violence and upheaval.
While uprisings in neighbouring Libya, Yemen and Syria have led to war and chaos, and to the return of repression in Egypt, Tunisia successfully adopted a new constitution in January 2014 and held democratic elections at the end of a year ago.
In honouring the Quartet, the Nobel Committee shone the spotlight on Tunisia as a rare success story to emerge from the Arab Spring, the movement of popular uprisings that started in the country.
The other prizes – in literature, physics, chemistry, medicine and economics – were handed to laureates in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, by Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf.
Belarussian writer and dissident Svetlana Alexievich was given the literature prize for her work chronicling the horrors of war and life under the repressive Soviet regime.
The Nobel Memorial Prize in economic sciences, not in Nobel’s will, was awarded to Scottish-born Angus Deaton, with dual USA and British citizenship, “for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare”.
Security around the festivities – which has hundreds of royals and prominent politicians as guests – has also been heightened this year after Sweden raised its terror threat level to the highest ever after the Paris attacks. In addition, Modrich, Sancar, and Lindahl will split a cash prize worth about $1.2 million.