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The president had not been mentioned as among front-runners [favoritos] for the prize, and the roomful of reporters [os repórteres que lotavam o auditório] gasped [suspiraram (brevemente demonstrando surpresa)] when Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman [presidente] of the Nobel committee, uttered [disse] Obama’s name.
The president, who was awakened to be told he had won [foi acordado para receber a notícia de que havia vencido], said he was humbled to be selected [aceitou o prêmio com humildade], according to an administration official.
The Nobel committee recognized Obama’s efforts to solve complex global problems including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons.
“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as [tanto quanto] Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” the committee said.
Jagland said the decision was “unanimous” and came with ease [facilidade].
He rejected the notion that Obama had been recognized prematurely for his efforts and said the committee wanted to promote the president just as it had Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 in his efforts to open up [abir (esp. a economia de um país)] the Soviet Union.
“His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world [tem a função de liderar o mundo] must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population,” it said.
Obama’s recognition comes less than a year after he became the first African-American to win the White House. He is the fourth U.S. president to win the prestigious prize and the third sitting president [presidente durante o mandato] to do so.
Jagland said he hoped the prize would help Obama resolve the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Former [Ex] Finnish [finlandês] President Martti Ahtisaari, last year’s laureate [vencedor de prêmio, homenageado], said it was clear the Nobel committee wanted to encourage Obama on the issues [problemas] he has been discussing on the world stage [cenário, palco (lit.) internacional].
“I see this as an important encouragement [incentivo, estímulo],” Ahtisaari said.
The committee wanted to be “far more daring [bem mais ousado]” than in recent times and make an impact on global politics, said Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the International Peace Research Institute.
And Wangari Muta Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist [ambientalista] who won the 2004 Peace Prize, said the win for Obama, whose [cujo] father was Kenyan, would help Africa move forward [progredir, caminhar adiante].
“I think it is extraordinary,” she said. “It will be even greater inspiration for the world. He has shown how we can probably come together [aproximar-se, juntar esforços], work together in a cooperative way.”
The award [prêmio] comes at a crucial time for Obama, who has initiated peace missions to key parts of the globe.
Obama’s envoy [enviado] to the Middle East [Oriente Médio], George Mitchell, has returned to the region to advocate for peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Mitchell met Thursday with Israeli President Shimon Peres. He plans to meet Friday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before talking with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton starts a six-day trip [viagem de seis dias] to Europe and Russia on Friday. On the trip, the secretary will discuss the next steps on Iran and North Korea, and international efforts to have the two countries end their nuclear programs.
The centerpiece [destaque, parte mais importante] of the trip will be her visit to Moscow, where she will work toward an agreement [acordo, consenso] to take the place of [substituir] the Start II arms control [controle armamentista] pact [pacto, acordo], which expires December 5. She also will address [fazer pronunciamento] the new bilateral presidential commission that is working on a broad range [gama mais ampla] of issues, from arms control to health.
Mohamed ElBaradei, who won the 2005 peace prize for his efforts to prevent [evitar] nuclear energy being used for military means, said Obama deserved to win for his efforts to bring Iran to the table for direct nuclear talks [negociações, conversações] with the United States.
The last sitting U.S. president to win the peace prize was Woodrow Wilson in 1919. The other was Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Jimmy Carter had been out of office [já havia deixado o cargo] for more than two decades when he won in 2002.
This year’s Peace Prize nominees included 172 people — among them three Chinese dissidents, an Afghan activist and a controversial Colombian lawmaker [legislador] — and 33 organizations, the highest number of nominations ever.
The deadline [prazo] for nominations must be postmarked [carimbado pelo correio] by [antes de] February 1 each year. Obama was inaugurated on January 20.