EU leaders were in Oslo this week to collect the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. Digital media allowed the Prize to be shared in ways that would not have been possible if the EU had won the award 20 or even 10 years ago.
Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, all stressed that the Prize should be seen as a shared recognition of the contributions that many people have made to the EU’s work. In his statement, President Barroso commented:
“This is an award for the European project – for the people and the institutions – that day after day, for the last sixty years, have built a new Europe.”
Digital media offered opportunities for a wide range of people to engage and get involved in the celebrations.
Peace Europe Future online contest
In addition to the Presidents of the three main institutions and some twenty EU heads of state or government, four young people represented the EU at the prize ceremony in Oslo.
Larkin, Ilona, Elena and Ana were the lucky winners of the “Peace Europe Future” online contest organised jointly by the European Youth Forum, the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission.
Young people from the EU and acceding or candidate countries were invited to answer the question “What does Peace in Europe mean to you?”. 8-12 year olds expressed their answer in a drawing, 13-24 year olds in a short text of less than 120 characters. The contest attracted more than 5000 applications from 33 countries, and over 11,000 people liked the Peace Europe Future Facebook page.
Translating the competition entries for the jury presented a particular challenge for the Commission’s translators – see the Youtube video below for more on this story.
Europe from war to peace
A video featuring archive footage going back to the origins of European integration in the post-WWII period, as well as personal reflections from people living in the EU today, was shared on Youtube.
And Twitter was buzzing with comments in the run-up to and during the prize ceremony. There were over 7000 tweets featuring the #eunobel hashtag, including some very poignant comments on the significance of European cooperation for peace and reconciliation. See a couple of examples below. For a fuller summary of the #eunobel tweets, images and comments, see the great Storify made by the European Commission.
An EU campaign also enabled Social media users to show their support by adding a “Dove of Peace” Twibbon, designed by famous French cartoonist Plantu, to their Twitter or Facebook profiles. Over 1500 people, including the Presidents of the three EU institutions, from more than 500 locations used the Twibbon app. For further information, see this post on the Twibbon blog.
For further analysis of activity on social media around the EU Nobel Peace Prize, including critical views expressed via Youtube and other platforms, see this blog post by @lacomeuropeenne.
And finally, the Nobel Peace Prize was an opportunity to recognise the daily efforts of people working across the EU institutions (at a time when Europe does not always get a good press …).
The staff engagement actions organised around the prize ceremony included an online discussion forum where colleagues could post personal and professional stories related to peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights. Live screenings of the ceremony were organised for staff in several locations. A particular thanks to my colleague @jihan65 for this photo from the event he helped to organise in our building!