World church body congratulates Obama on Nobel Prize

Published 13 October 2009  |  
Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, the outgoing general secretary of World Council of Churches (WCC) has joined Nobel laureate Archbishop Tutu and others in congratulating U.S. President Barack Obama for getting Nobel Peace Prize.

In a congratulation letter to President Obama on Saturday, Dr Kobia highlighted Obama's "deep commitment to promote peace and reconciliation in today's troubled world" demonstrated by his policies on nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and curbing greenhouse gas emissions as well as his "eagerness for easing conflicts with Islamic nations."

He wrote: "The Nobel committee's decision honours you as a statesman who demonstrates a deep commitment to the cause of peace with justice, and hope for a transformation in this world. This quality of yours was eloquently recognized by the Nobel committee when it stated that only very rarely has a person captured the world's attention to the extent that you have done already, and given the world's people hope for a better future."

"I am confident that this approach will ensure positive new developments in international relations and diplomacy.

Kobia stated in the letter that Obama's endorsement of the United Nations resolution on nuclear non-proliferation, his decision to discard U.S. plans to build a missile shield for Eastern Europe, your call to curb greenhouse gas emissions to prevent global warming and your eagerness for easing conflicts with Islamic nations demonstrate your deep commitment to promote peace and reconciliation in today's troubled world.

In all these matters, the general secretary said, Obama's administration affirms long-held positions of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which has over 550 million members in 120 countries.

Kobia said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the general secretary-elect of the World Council of Churches, who will succeed him in January 2010, joins in offering Obama their heartfelt congratulations on receiving the Prize. He said, "As citizens of Norway and Kenya, we take pride in our two nations' particular connections to this event."

"I am confident that the decision of the Nobel committee to confer this year's peace prize upon you will go a long way toward accelerating your relentless efforts to contribute to peace. The award is a call and encouragement to build upon the important work you have already initiated," he added.

Dr Kobia concluded by saying, "As you continue to demonstrate your leadership, may God Almighty continue to bless you."

Earlier, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate and former Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa also hailed the Nobel committee's desicion to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama. He said, "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope," and a "wonderful recognition of Obama's effort to reach out to the Arab world after years of hostility."

However, the news of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize win Friday generated a flurry of reactions across the world – from high praise and approval to criticism and disbelief.


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