On Friday October 11, the Nobel Committee will announce the 2013 winner of the coveted Nobel Peace Prize. The selection process is very secretive and only certain people across the globe (professors, elected government officials, Nobel laureates) can nominate an individual or organization.
Speculation has been bouncing around the Internet as to the recipient of the 2013 award starting right after the European Union won its widely unpopular Peace Prize in 2012.
Here is our list of frontrunners, wildcards, and honorable mentions:
1. Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is the 16-year-old women's education activist from Pakistan and the hands-down favorite to win the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai was an outspoken advocate for women's education and her progressive voice was noticed by the world, and unfortunately, the Taliban.
On October 9, 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck during an assassination attempt. She was flown to the UK where she received medical treatment and now attends a school in Birmingham.
She has an autobiography, I Am Malala, set to be released this week on the one year anniversary of her shooting. She was listed as one of Time Magazines 100 most influential people in the world for 2013, and just this week received the coveted RAW (Reach All Women) in War Anna Politikovskaya award from human rights.
This week she appeared on Jon Stewart's show and left him speechless:
2. Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden is the now-infamous whistleblower who leaked an untold-thousands of documents to journalists around the world in order to reveal the invasive nature of intelligence gathering committed by the United States and its allies.
His leaks promoted outrage and discussion across the world as citizens of dozens of countries, including the United States, demanded privacy. Amnesty International, the massive international human rights advocacy group, said of Snowden:
What he has disclosed is patently in the public interest and as a whistleblower his actions were justified. He has exposed unlawful sweeping surveillance programmes that unquestionably interfere with an individual’s right to privacy.
Likewise, the man who nominated Snowden for the prize, Stefan Svallfors, a professor of sociology at Umea University, said in his letter to the committee:
The decision to award the 2013 prize to Edward Snowden would - in addition to being well justified in itself - also help to save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute that incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award U.S. President Barack Obama 2009 award. It would show its willingness to stand up in defense of civil liberties and human rights, even when such a defense be viewed with disfavour by the world's dominant military power.
3. Russian Women's and Gay Rights Activists
With the upcoming winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the world's eyes are turned to the crackdown on gay rights in the country. Two laws were recently passed in Russia, the first a law that bans pro-gay "propaganda" to be displayed anywhere where children might see it, like on a Moscow street or on television. The other law bans the adopting of Russian children by same-sex couples outside of Russia.
Since then, a number of activists and organizations have put their lives and livelihoods at risk to advocate for LGBT rights in Russia. A win for anyone of these organizations or individuals would be a message to the world that the Nobel committee sees gay rights as one of the most important human rights issues of our time.
4. Sister Mary Tarcisia Lokot
Lokot has dedicating her life to helping to rebuild war-torn Northern Uganda. She was the first woman to join the advocate group Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative and helped to formulate the first ideas for a reconciliation in Uganda and promotes similar notions to those of the Truth and Reconciliation commission in South Africa after the fall of apartheid.
5. Denis Mukwege
Mukwege, 58, is a Congolese gynecologist and physician practicing in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He founded the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu where he has treated thousands of women who have been subject to violence and rape.
Mukwege spoke in front of the United Nations about the endemic problem of rape in the Democratic Republic and Congo and challenged the world community to take notice and action against this horrific problem. Mukwege survived an assassination attempt in October 2012.
Whistleblower and leak Chelsea Manning who released hundreds of thousands of military documents and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks has been considered as a possibility for the Nobel Peace Prize. She revealed a number of war crimes committed by the U.S. Army in the Middle East and has served as an inspiration for both LGBT and transparency activists.
Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz is Guatemala's first female attorney general. She has worked tirelessly during her tenure to seek justice for those who perpetuated some of the most heinous human rights atrocities in Guatemala's history, including former President Effrain Rio Montt.