OSLO, Norway (NewsNation Now) — U.S. voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, climate activist Greta Thunberg and former White House adviser Jared Kushner are among those nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year.
Along with his son-in-law, former President Donald Trump is also on the long list of nominees, as well as the U.S. Black Lives Matter movement, the World Health Organization and WikiLeaks.
Thousands of people, from members of parliaments worldwide to former winners, are eligible to propose candidates, and a nomination does not imply endorsement from the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo. The committee doesn’t comment on nominations, but nominators can choose to reveal their picks.
The 2021 laureate will be announced in October.
A Norwegian lawmaker announced the nomination of Stacey Abrams, a Democratic Party politician, on Monday. Abrams was nominated for her work to promote nonviolent change via the ballot box, said Lars Haltbrekken, a Socialist Party member of Norway’s parliament.
“Abrams’ work follows in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s footsteps in the fight for equality before the law and for civil rights,” Haltbrekken said.
King, a Baptist minister who became a leader of the 1960s civil rights movement, won the Nobel prize in 1964 and remains among its most famous laureates.
“Abrams’ efforts to complete King’s work are crucial if the United States of America shall succeed in its effort to create fraternity between all its peoples and a peaceful and just society,” Haltbrekken said.
Abrams, the one-time candidate for Georgia governor, was credited by people across the country for mobilizing Democratic voters in the Peach State.
Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock’s wins, along with President Joe Biden’s victory in the state in November, mark a huge shift in Georgia politics, which have been dominated by Republicans in recent years. Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.
Navalny, nominated by Russian academics, was named for his “efforts for a peaceful democratization of Russia” by Norwegian former minister Ola Elvestuen.
The jailed opposition leader is due in court Tuesday after two weekends of nationwide rallies and thousands of arrests in the largest outpouring of discontent in Russia in years.
The 44-year-old was arrested Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities reject the accusation.
He faces a prison term for alleged probation violations from a 2014 money-laundering conviction that is widely seen as politically motivated.
Belarusian activists Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Maria Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo were also nominated for their “fight for a fair election and inspiration for peaceful resistance,” nominator Geir Sigbjoern Toskedal said.
Thunberg was named as one of “the foremost spokespeople in the fight against the climate crisis,” with the campaigning group she co-founded, Fridays for Future, also receiving a nod.
Fridays for Future is a global movement that started after Thunberg began a school strike to demand action on the climate crisis in August 2018.
Former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his deputy, Avi Berkowitz, were nominated on Sunday for their role in negotiating four normalization deals between Israel and Arab nations known as the “Abraham Accords.”
The deals were announced in a four-month span between mid-August and mid-December and were the most significant diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East in 25 years as the region girds for a prolonged confrontation with Iran.
Nominating the pair of former deputies to then-President Donald Trump was American attorney Alan Dershowitz, who was eligible to do so in his capacity as a professor emeritus of Harvard Law School.
Dershowitz defended Trump in his first impeachment trial last year and said in a Jan. 20 comment in the Wall Street Journal that the Senate should dismiss the article of impeachment against Trump over the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol as he is no longer president.
In his letter to the Nobel committee, Dershowitz also cited the work of former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and former Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer in the normalization deals.
“The Nobel Peace Prize is not for popularity. Nor is it an assessment of what the international community may think of those who helped bring about peace. It is an award for fulfilling the daunting criteria set out by Alfred Nobel in his will,” he wrote.
BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT
The U.S. Black Lives Matter movement was nominated for its role in raising global awareness about racial injustice.
“I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality,” Norwegian MP Petter, who nominated the movement, told NewsNation. “Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice.”
Eide said he was impressed by the movement’s ability to “mobilize people from all groups of society.” He said the broad engagement makes it different than other civil rights and social justice movements.
The Black Lives Matter Movement was founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi in 2013 following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Since then, the movement has protested globally after the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor.
Reuters contributed to this report. All reporting by Terje Solsvik, Gwladys Fouche, Nora Buli and Steve Holland.