The Nobel Prize season has begun, and it will last for six days. The Nobel Prize will be awarded to the world’s top contributors in six different categories.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, comprised of five individuals appointed by the Norwegian parliament, determines who receives the awards. Members are frequently, but not always, retired politicians. A lawyer chairs the current committee, which also includes an academic.

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Berit Reiss-Andersen (Labour Party Chair), Henrik Syse (Conservative Party Deputy Chair), Thorbjrn Jagland (Labour Party), Anne Enger (Centre Party), and Asle Toje (Progress Party) have been members since 2018. 

Members of the committee have historically represented seven political parties, including the Liberal Party, the Socialist Left Party, and the Christian People’s Party, in addition to the four parties currently represented. Six people have served as secretaries to the committee, including the director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute. This has been Olav Njlstad, a historian, biographer, and novelist, since 2015.


The Storting (Parliament of Norway) rules state that members of the committee are elected for a six-year term and can be re-elected. The composition of the committee reflects the relative strength of the Storting’s political parties.

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Selection Process

The Permanent Secretary of the Nobel Committee presents the list of candidates for the year at the first meeting of the Committee following the February 1 deadline for nominations. The Committee may add more names to the list at that time, after which the nomination process is closed and discussion of the specific candidates begins. In light of this initial review, the Committee creates the so-called short list, which is a list of candidates chosen for further consideration. A short list of twenty to thirty candidates is typical.

The short-listed candidates are then considered by the Nobel Institute’s permanent advisers. Aside from the Institute’s Director and Research Director, the body of advisers is generally comprised of a small group of Norwegian university professors with broad expertise in subject areas relevant to the Nobel Peace Prize. Typically, the advisers have a couple of months to complete their reports. Reports from other Norwegian and foreign experts are also requested on occasion.

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Following the presentation of the advisers’ reports, the Nobel Committee begins a lengthy debate of the most likely contenders. During the process, it is frequently necessary to get updates and more information on candidates from other experts, who are frequently foreign. The Committee typically doesn’t make a choice until the very last meeting before the Prize is announced at the start of October.

The Committee aims for unanimous decision-making when choosing the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. On the rare cases where this is impossible, a simple majority vote is used to make the decision.