Yesterday morning, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The award was created to recognize those who had "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." It has been given to 104 individuals and 23 organizations since it was created in 1901. Past winners include people such as Pakistani women's rights activist Malala Yousafzai, U.S. president Barack Obama, and organizations such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.
Ending one of the world's longest wars
President Santos won because of his efforts to try to end one of the world's longest wars. The Colombia civil war between its government and FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, had lasted for 52 years. Santos negotiated, or discussed in meetings, with FARC's leader, Timochenko, to finally make an official agreement that would satisfy both sides. Unfortunately, this peace deal was narrowly rejected this week by Colombians in a nationwide vote called a referendum. (Those who voted against it felt that the rebels were not being punished enough for their part in the war.)
The quest continues
This defeat was hard for many to accept. But President Santos hopes that his Nobel Prize can bring energy back to his quest for peace. "I invite everyone to join our strength, our minds and our hearts in this great national endeavour so that we can win the most important prize of all: peace in Colombia," he said yesterday morning.
Timochenko says that FARC does not want to go back to fighting. Peace can take a long time to make. But this award proves that whether or not it succeeds fully, making the effort is most important of all.