How Many U.S. Presidents Have Won the Nobel Peace Prize?

Alfred Nobel touched on many disciplines -- from science, invention and entrepreneurship, to literature and peace. His will stated that he wanted to award outstanding people in those fields, and in 1900, the Nobel Foundation was established to award the Nobel Prizes. The prizes are international awards given by the Norwegian Nobel Committee with a ceremony held on December 10, the day Nobel died. The Peace prize includes a medal, diploma and money.

According to Alfred Nobel’s will, the Nobel Peace Prize was created to award those who have

“done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

U.S. Presidents Who Have Won the Nobel Peace Prize

The first Nobel Peace Prizes were handed out in 1901. Since then, 97 people and 20 organizations have received the honor, including three sitting U.S. presidents:

  • Theodore Roosevelt: Roosevelt, who was in office from 1901-09, was awarded the prize in 1906 "for his successful mediation to end the Russo-Japanese war and for his interest in arbitration, having provided the Hague arbitration court with its very first case." His Nobel Peace Prize currently hangs in the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing which was his office when the West Wing was built in 1902.
  • Woodrow Wilson: Wilson, who was in office from 1913-21, was awarded the prize in 1919 for founding the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations.
  • Barack Obama: Obama, who began his term in 2009, was awarded the prize just months later "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." He donated a large portion of the $1.4 million award to charities including Fisher House, Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, College Summit, The Posse Foundation, The United Negro College Fund and others.

    When President Obama accepted the prestigious award, he offered this humble statement:

    I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who've received this prize -- Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela -- my accomplishments are slight.

    When President Obama was told that he won the Nobel Peace Prize he stated that Malia walked in and said, "Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo's birthday!"  Sasha added, "Plus, we have a three-day weekend coming up."

    Former President and Vice President Peace Prize Winners

    The prize has also gone to one former U.S. president and a Vice President:

    • Jimmy Carter: Carter, who served one term from 1977-1981, was awarded the prize in 2002 "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."
    • Vice President Al Gore: Gore won the prize in 2007 for his work in researching and disseminating knowledge about climate change.