After attending a recent fundraising event, held to support children with incarcerated parents,with Oprah Winfrey as a guest speaker, Rocky Twieman, a Washington, D.C. public relations officer, decided to spearhead an effort to get Oprah, the guest speaker, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“Oprah got up and gave a testimony to God,” Twieman said Dec. 2 on WGTS/ 91.9 FM, a Christian radio station. “She said that ‘In Him, I live and move and have my being.’ God was the one that has given her this wealth and she said that her purpose in life was to help at risk children and at-risk families.”
“She admonished all of us there to find our purpose in life,” he said. After the event, Twieman wrote a proposal and started campaigning. He hopes to get 100,000 signatures by January to submit to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the Stockholm-based group that gives the prestigious award. To date he has recieved 7,000 signatures.
The process of selecting a Nobel Peace Prize winner starts in September, about a year before the prize announcement. The nominations reach the Nobel Committee between September and February. In recent years, the Committee has received well over 140 nominations. The committee decides on a winner in mid-October of each year.
"But not just anyone can apply," Twieman said.
A former laureate or noted organization is eligible to submit possible candidates. “We’re trying to get former President Jimmy Carter or former President Nelson Mandela to nominate her. Both have been on her show and are familiar with her work,” he said, referring to the former Nobel Peace Prize winners.
“We think it’ll add credibility to the nomination,” Tweiman added.
After the winner is chosen, they are invited to Oslo, Norway in December. There they take part in the festivities and receive their medal, personal diploma, and a monetary award, which could be up to $10 million. Afterward, the winner(s) gives a lecture.
The Nobel Peace Prize winners are chosen on the basis of their work and/or contributions in the following areas: humanitarian efforts, peace movements, advocacy of human rights, mediation of international conflicts and arms control and disarmament.
Nobel prizes are also given in the areas of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine and literature.
“We think that The Oprah Winfrey Show has raised awareness all around the world, on serious issues: AIDS, hunger, poverty, homelessness, women’s rights,” Twieman said. “These are the critical issues that divide the world. Not only has she talked about it on the show, but she’s donated large sums of her own personal fortune to help alleviate these problems.”