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Teaching about the EU and the Nobel Peace Prize

On 12th October 2012 it was announced that the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union (EU) "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe".

Here are a series of teaching resources that can help you teach about the EU and the Nobel Peace Prize.

Resources for teaching about the EU

The European Parliament: what's that?

The EU Explained

NB Both these resources are free, but need to be ordered!

Resources for teaching about the Nobel Peace Prize

Facts about the Nobel Peace Prize

Press release about the awarding of the prize to the EU.

List of previous winners and the work for which they were awarded the prize

For pupils - about the life and work of Alfred Nobel

Other teaching resources

These organisations have great teaching resources for teaching about democracy, human rights and peace and reconciliation.

Oxfam Education

Amnesty Education

Association for Citizenship Teaching (members only)

Holocaust Education Trust

Questions for Class

What has the EU done to deserve the prize?
HINT: Think about when was the last war in Europe? Who were enemies in the Second World War and how do they work together today? What has helped prevent war?

Do you agree that it should have won the prize?
HINT: Think about who else could have won the prize. Is the EU really the most deserving? Do you know about the problems in the EU at the moment?

Why is it considered prestigious to win a Nobel prize?
HINT: Think about global media coverage. Think about awareness raising for the work/cause of the winner.

What have you done to promote peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights? Or what could you do?

What are the other Nobel prizes for? Why are these important causes? What other causes can you think of that there could be a prize for?

Alfred Nobel - Inventor of dynamite/creator of peace prize

The Nobel Peace Prize is the most prestigious peace prize in the world. Past laureates include: Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Mikael Gorbachev, Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama.

The prize was established by Alfred Nobel, whose will, dated 1895, stated that a large amount of his money should be used to create an international prize for "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".

Alfred Nobel made his fortune as a successful international industrialist. At the age of 17, the Swedish Alfred Nobel already spoke five languages fluently! Perhaps his most famous invention was dynamite. He also invented a detonator or blasting cap which could be set off by lighting a fuse. These were in high demand by warring nations of Europe and beyond. They were also used for blasting rock in construction of roads, tunnels, railways, bridges, etc.

By the time of his death in 1896 he had built factories on 90 sites, started 87 companies and registered 355 patents worldwide! He left a considerable fortune in his will for the creation of the Nobel Prizes.

Alfred Nobel read his own obituary - a newspaper printed the obituary for the wrong Mr Nobel when Alfred's brother died! The article proclaimed "the merchant of death is dead" and described Alfred as "a man who had made it possible to kill more people more quickly than ever before". On reading this he realised that he wanted to be remembered for something other than dynamite and came up with the idea of bequeathing his money for the creation of the Nobel Prizes.

According to his will, this fortune was to be used to establish prizes to award those who had done their best to benefit mankind in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. The first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901.