U.S. President Barack Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said on Friday.

The committee, which includes five current and former members of the Norwegian parliament, made the selection, deliberating since February 1, the deadline for nominations. 

The committee said it placed special importance on Obama’s push for eliminating nuclear weapons and commending him for having “created a new climate in international politics.”

“Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play,” the committee said.

The committee also noted Obama’s work as president toward pushing the U.S. to play “a more constructive role” in combating climate change.

“His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population,” the committee said.

People allowed to make nominations include a variety of international legislators, policy makers, university professors and former winners of Nobel prizes. Under the Nobel rules, they nominators will not be revealed by the organization for 50 years. Nominees may choose to divulge if they submitted nominations. 

The Nobel committee has been in existence since 1901. It was established through the execution of the final will of Alfred Nobel, a scientist and entrepreneur who was initially known for his work with to develop explosives to facilitate construction work. He willed that his fortune be used to establish prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace.