Argentine-Slovene priest Pedro Pablo Opeka may have been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Infobae recently reported. Father Opeka has spent the last 50 years in Madagascar and won numerous accolades for his work helping economically disadvantaged people there.
If the rumors are true, this would be Father Opeka’s third Nobel Peace Prize nomination. In 2013 and 2015, he was nominated by the Slovene government and a range of European parliaments, as well as the Madagascan parliaments and a number of organizations and associations for Canada, Australia, Monaco and, of course, his native Argentina, according to the Akamasoa Association. So, third time lucky?
According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the number of nominees for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize is record breaking with 376 candidates in total (228 individuals and 148 organizations). The previous record was set in 2014, with 278 candidates.
So the question is: are any other Argentines in the running?
Yes, indeed there are two others believed to be nominated. The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) has made it’s annual predictions, as well as a list of confirmed nominations for 2016. Pope Francis appears on their list (though not in their top five predictions). According to PRIO, the Pope was endorsed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu “for the significant contributions to global understanding of sustainable development.” Then there is speculation that Cordoba-born scientist Gabriela González is in the running for the Nobel Prize for Physics. She is the head of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, who participated in an important project earlier this year that proved Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to be correct. Though, with a team of more than 1,000 people, it is hard to tell who will be nominated for this discovery.
Past Argentine Nobel Prize Winners
If one of our three potential candidates wins, he or she will be sixth Nobel prize winner to emerge from this country, according to Conectate. So, here are the five men who brought the title to Argentina.
César Milstein earned the prestigious title in 1984. He won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with two other scientists, “for theories concerning the specificity in development and control of the immune system and the discovery of the principle for production of monoclonal antibodies.”
Luis Federico Lenoir won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1970 “for his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates.”
Carlos Saavedra Lamas, a previous Argentine Foreign Minister, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1936 for his role as President of the Assembly of the League of Nations and as mediator of a conflict between Bolivia and Paraguay. He was the first Latin American Nobel prize laureate, and also the first laureate from outside Europe and the United States.
Bernardo Alberto Houssay won the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1947. According to NobelPrize.org, he won his award along with two fellow scientists “for his discovery of the part played by the hormone of the anterior pituitary lobe in the metabolism of sugar.”
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980. In the 1970s, Esquivel was the head of the Latin American human rights organization, the Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ). He was arrested, imprisoned and tortured during the last military dictatorship. He won the Nobel Prize for “his courageous nonviolent struggle [which] lit a light in the darkness of Argentina’s violence”.