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Andersens nobeltale

Nobels fredspris 2009

Stortingspresident Dag Terje Andersens tale under Nobelmiddagen 10. desember 2009.

Your Majesties, Mr. President, Mrs.Obama,  Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies,  Distinguished guests.

Dear Nobel Laureate,
First of all allow me to congratulate you, Mr. President, on being awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. In accepting this prize you are joining the ranks of many giants of history.
They have made their mark on the development of our world. 
They made a change.

The prize winner is selected on the basis of the will of Alfred Nobel. Even though he was a Swede he asked the Norwegian Parliament  to appoint the Peace Prize Committee.
Nobel  was a realist and an idealist at one and the same time. He made his fortune from producing explosives, while dedicating his riches to the advancement of humanity.

He wanted the peace prize to be given to those who dedicated themselves to work for a better world, for cooperation, disarmament and peace.

To a world where international conflicts are solved by negotiations.

Where the law of the strongest is replaced by laws  respecting all.

Where the strong are just, the weak secure and the peace preserved.

We know from our work as parliamentarians – be it in the US Congress or in the Storting - that dialogue  leads to understanding, understanding to compromise, and compromise to lasting solutions. We know that we must focus on what binds us together rather than what tears us apart.

We must forge new bonds across all boundaries – geographical, religious, cultural. We must move forward together – or we will not move forward at all.

We know that goals are not reached overnight. Rather they are what we should strive to reach.

As you have said, the Prize is indeed a call for action. Today you have reiterated that call for action.

We fully share your view, Mr. President, that urgent action is required to solve the formidable international challenges ahead of us – be it nuclear disarmament, climate change, human rights or the fight against poverty and discrimination. Even the longest journey starts with the first few steps.  And, as we have been reminded this year, small steps lead to giant leaps.

Among the regulars at this hotel, at the time when Alfred Nobel wrote his testament, was the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.
He often wrote of human nature, and in one of his most famous plays the main character declares:

Yes, think of it, wish for it or dream about it - but doing it is quite another matter.

Turning words into deeds requires both conviction and courage – and leadership.

Alfred Nobel’s most famous invention was dynamite. For a number of years I my self was a licensed dynamiter. And I can tell you that his invention really does make a difference.

The Peace Prize is also meant to make a difference. Like dynamite.
The prize is a powerful tool and an encouragement to those who believe in and work for a better world.

In conclusion.
I would like to ask you all to raise your glasses to:
- the Nobel Committee, which has provided us with such a delicious meal,
- to the distinguished guests whose pleasant company we have enjoyed here tonight,
- but, above all, to this year’s Nobel Laureate and his ongoing efforts to answer Alfred Nobel’s call for service to humanity.


I was planning to do it by giving President Obama and Mrs Obama the opportunity to learn a Norwegian word. But I noted that they already use that word. The Word was used by the Norwegian Vikings when they visited America more than 500 years before Columbus;


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