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This year U.S. President Barack Obama became the 120th recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. President Obama's work toward a nuclear weapons-free world; his plans for combating climate change; his insistence on multi-lateral diplomacy and support of the United Nations; and his ability to give new hope to people around the world, were some of the reasons that prompted the Nobel Prize Committee to award the Peace Prize to a man who had only just begun his term in office.
President Obama formally accepted the Nobel peace Prize with expressions of "deep gratitude and great humility," while acknowledging the seeming paradox of the commander-in-chief of a country fighting 2 wars being hailed as a peace maker.
"I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict - - filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other," said President Obama:
"There will be times when nations - acting individually or in concert - will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified. ... For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism - it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason."
Yet we can build a just and lasting peace in 3 ways, said Mr. Obama. First, those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable. Second, we must recognize that if human rights are not protected, peace is a hollow promise. And third, a just peace must encompass economic security and opportunity.
"Agreements among nations. Strong institutions. Support for human rights. Investments in development."
"We can acknowledge that oppression will always be with us, and still strive for justice," said President Obama. "We can admit the intractability of depravation, and still strive for dignity. We can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace. We can do that - for that is the story of human progress; that is the hope of all the world; and at this moment of challenge, that must be our work here on Earth."