President Barack Obama is the surprise winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." The Norwegian Nobel committee said it attached particular importance to Obama's commitment to nuclear disarmament and his emphasis on the role of the United Nations. Three other US presidents have won the prize: Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Jimmy Carter.
While Obama was mentioned in pre-announcement speculation, observers thought it was too early for the new president to win and predicted that a political dissident, perhaps in China, would be named. Asked whether it was too soon to award Obama the $1.4 million prize, the former Norwegian prime minister who chairs the committee said, "We are not awarding the prize for what may happen in the future but for what he has done in the previous year. We would hope this will enhance what he is trying to do." (Read more Barack Obama stories.)