Winning the Nobel Peace Prize is not just a personal honor for President Barack Obama, but one for the whole country.

Hundreds are nominated, but just one is chosen. The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2009 prize to Obama for his efforts and leadership in international affairs — and for the promise of accomplishments yet to come. Obama has been in office almost nine months, but in that time he signaled a more inclusive leadership role for the U.S. and a multilateral vision regarding international affairs.

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," said the Nobel committee.

It cited Obama's efforts in creating a "new climate in international politics," which has advanced the goal of nuclear disarmament and arms control as well as confronting global warming.

Critics say Obama didn't earn the prize. But it often has gone to influential leaders who show promise in solving conflicts, inspiring hope and unifying countries. By that measure, Obama is a clear winner.


—The Austin American-Statesman