Known Nobel Peace Prize Nominees for 2011 [PHOTOS]

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  • WikiLeaks, anti-secrecy, Whistleblower website founded and run by Australian journalist/hacker Julian Assange
    WikiLeaks' candidacy in the Nobel Prize race came as no surprise. WikiLeaks was first tipped as a worthy candidate for Nobel Prize by Russia after the anti-secrecy website founded and run by an Australian hacker, Julian Assange, released over 250,000 classified diplomatic cables inviting the ire of the U.S. government and other authorities across the world. As the deadline for the Nobel nominations neared, there was a strong buzz amoung the Nobel circuits and observers on the possibility of WikiLeaks scoring a nomination for the Prize. In early February, a member of the Parliament of Norway revealed that he nominated WikiLeaks for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. "It is always easier to support freedom of speech when the one who speaks agree with you politically. This is one of the "tests" on liberal and democratic values that governments tend to fail. For instance, western governments have a long history on tolerating oppressive regimes that are "friendly-minded". Internet companies assist China in censoring search engines. And many countries respond to Wikileaks' obvious right to publish material that is of public interest, by seeking to "shoot the messenger"," Snorre Valen, a member of the Socialist Left party, wrote in his blog post, titled 'Why I nominated WikiLeaks for the Nobel Peace Prize'. The Parliamentarian also hailed the anti-secrecy website's contribution to Tunisian 'Jasmine' Revolution, which in turn sparked off a wave of protests in Arab Nations, including Egypt, Yemen, and Bahrain. The anti-government protests spread to Libya. It even touched Asia with Chinese dissidents trying to launch a protest but only to be muzzled. "By disclosing the economic arrangements by the presidential family in Tunisia, Wikileaks have made a small contribution to bringing down a 24-year-lasting dictatorship," he argued for WikiLeaks.
  • Afghan rights advocate Sima Samar
    Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission says Chairperson Commissioner Dr. Sima Samar is a well known woman’s and human rights advocate and activist within national and international forums. Since 1994, Dr. Samar has received various international awards on women’s rights, human rights, democracy, and women for peace. Dr. Samar served as the first Deputy Chair and Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Interim Administration of Afghanistan. Before chairing the Commission, she was elected as the Vice Chair of the Emergency Loya Jirga. She was appointed as the Chair of the AIHRC by Mr. Karzai, Chairman of the Afghanistan Interim Administration. In 2010, International Peace Research Institute had speculated that human rights advocate Sima Samar may become the first person from Afghanistan to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote women’s health and education.
  • Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl
    Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who first served as Chancellor of West Germany from 1982 to 1990, and then was appointed Chancellor of the reunited Germany from 1990 to 1998, was the first Chancellor of the reunified Germany. Kohl is often credited with the successful reunification of East and West Germany. Kohl is also considered one of the key architects of the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, which acted as the foundation for the European Union. Kohl was recognized for contribution to a unified European economy was recognized with several awards: “Prince of Asturias” Award for International Cooperation (1996), named “Honorary Citizen of Europe” by the European heads of state or government for his “extraordinary work for European integration and cooperation” (1998).
  • Russian rights group Memorial and its founder Svetlana Gannushkina [Photo: A woman places a candle near a portrait of slain Russian human rights activist Natalya Estemirova in Moscow, August 24, 2009. Estemirova, a human rights activist for the group Memo
    Memorial is an international historical and civil rights society that focuses on recording and publicising the Soviet Union's totalitarian past. Under the official name International Volunteer Public Organization 'MEMORIAL Historical, Educational, Human Rights And Charitable Society', the group also monitors human rights in post-Soviet states. Memorial is the oldest human rights organization in Russia. Memorial's founding member Svetlana Gannushkina is also among the 2011 Nobel nominees. Like WikiLeaks in 2011, Gannushkina found support in a Norwegian member of parliament in 2010. Lawmaker Erna Solberg told Norwegian daily Verdens Gang (VG) that she intended to nominate Russian human rights organisation Memorial and its founding member Svetlana Gannushkina for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. One of the veterans of Russia’s human rights movement, Gannushkina is the Directors of Citizen’s Aid, an NGO that assists refugees. She is also on the board of directors of human rights center 'Memorial'
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The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Tuesday announced that it has received valid nominations of 241 different individuals and organizations for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011. This is the highest number of nominations ever received. The previous record was 237 different candidates, in 2010, the committee said in a statement.

Although not all names are out, few names have emerged. Whistleblower website WikiLeaks, Internet are among those in the run for the world's top accolade. According to Reuters, the other known nominees include Afghan rights advocate Sima

Samar, the European Union, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, Russian rights group Memorial and its founder Svetlana Gannushkina.

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