The world's latest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Mohamed ElBaradei, said today that he felt "gratitude, pride, and hope" at sharing the prestigious Award with the organization he leads. He addressed international journalists today at IAEA headquarters in Vienna on the occasion of the Nobel Committee's announcement of the Peace Prize to the IAEA and its Director General.
"With this recognition, the Norwegian Nobel Committee underscores the value and the relevance of the work we have been doing," Dr. ElBaradei said. "Receiving the Award strengthens our resolve at a time when we have a hard road ahead of us." He said the Award will lend "prominence and impetus" to the IAEA´s work, and sends a "strong message to keep doing what you are doing, be impartial, act with integrity".
He commended the dedication and service of the IAEA and its staff. "It is humbling to receive such an extraordinary honour. I share it with great pride with all the men and women who serve at the International Atomic Energy Agency. This is a tremendous recognition of their untiring efforts in the service of peace."
Dr. ElBaradei said his hope is that the Award will serve to help the international community achieve the goal of developing a functional system of global security that does not derive from a nuclear weapons deterrent, but rather based on addressing the security concerns of all people. "The Prize strengthens my resolve to fulfil both aspects of the IAEA mandate - ensuring the benefits of nuclear energy in the service of humankind, and working towards a world free of nuclear weapons."
The IAEA, he noted, was founded with a simple credo: Atoms for Peace - meaning that nuclear science should be used safely and securely in the service of humanity and not for its destruction.
Dr. ElBaradei said he was at home with his wife when he heard the announcement on television. "It came as an absolute surprise to me," he said. "We were overjoyed by the news."
The IAEA award is the eighth time the United Nations or partner international organizations, leaders have won the Peace Prize. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the UN shared the 2001 prize, the UN Peacekeeping Forces were honored in 1988, the UN Children´s Fund (UNICEF) in 1965, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 1981 and 1954, and the International Labor Organization, 1969. The late UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold won the prize posthumously, 1961.
Other past winners and organizations include in 1995 British scientist Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash organisation. In 1985, the award went to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.