Nobel Committe Director Initiates a Controversial Discussion

While he is retiring from his positions as director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute after 25 years, Geir Lundestad talked to Aftenposten about the future of Nobel Committee. He listed three controversial points about how the Nobel Committee should look like in the future. 

Lundestad believes that foreigners in the committee is not a good idea and the committee must consist of only Norwegians. There is a lot of expertise among the 99.9 percent of the Earth that is not Norwegian, but in practice it is difficult. In a cold war, then one must have one from the east and one from the west, asks he. He also says Kofi Annan has been mentioned when this idea was proposed. 

– I know him well, he calls me sometimes, but he is still active. He is a mediator in conflicts. He has an agenda. And we can not have members with limited freedom. It would lead the Nobel Committee to collapse, says he.

Regarding the appoinment of former politicians to the committe, Nobel Committe Director proposes that former heads of state and foreign ministers should not sit in the committee any more. 

– To convince the world that the committee is independent is a difficult task in itself. Bandwagon gets too heavy to go when there are former heads of state and foreign ministers in the committee. adds he.

Lundestad also criticizes implicitly the current General Secretary of the Nobel Committee, Thorbjørn Jagland’s representative skills. 

– The Parliament has appointed members to the committee, but I do not think the job has been particularly impressive. In my opinion there should be two minimums for appoinment: One is that you have interest and  strong backgorund in international politics before coming into committee. There are too many shiny politicians not having a background in international politics. Through my 25 years I have seen several of them. The second is that you must be able to explain in a world language, preferably English. It looks strange if committee members are not particularly able to talk with the laureates in English, says he.

Jagland is usually criticized for his English

As a response to the outgoing Director’s statements, chief of staff for Thorbjorn Jagland, Bjørn Magnus Berge writes on Facebook that Geir Lundestad acted arrogantly. He also addds that it is vulgar and unfortunate to hear what he said about Jagland in the interview.

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