Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize handed out on Friday dashing the hopes of Greek islanders from Lesvos who had been nominated for the price due to their efforts in dealing with refugees.
The president is being awarded the prize for his efforts to end a five-decade-long civil war where more than 200,000 people were killed in Colombia. The award comes days after Colombian voters narrowly rejected the peace deal that the president helped bring about.
Noteworthy is the fact that the Norwegian Nobel Committee conspicuously left out his counterpart, Rodrigo Londono, the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, from the honor.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it believes that Santos, “despite the ‘No’ majority vote in the referendum, has brought the bloody conflict significantly closer to a peaceful solution.” The committee gives the award as a “tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process.”
The Harvard-educated 65-year-old comes from one of Colombia’s most affluent families and was responsible for some of the FARC’s biggest setbacks while serving as defense minister ten years ago.
The Nobel Prize will be officially handed to the president on December 10 in a special ceremony in Oslo.