The Swedes award the Nobel Prizes, except one; the Norwegians award the Nobel Peace Prize.
But Bobby Muller, who won the Nobel [Peace] Prize as co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, told The Times: "I don't have the highest regard for the thinking or process of the Nobel committee. Maybe Norway should give it to Sweden so they can more properly handle the Peace Prize along with all the other Nobel prizes."
- the TimesOnline
The Last Will of Alfred Nobel, in pertinent part, states:
The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part to 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. The prizes for physics and chemistry shall be awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences; that for physiology or medical works by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm; that for literature by the Academy in Stockholm, and that for champions of peace by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not.
Note that the excerpt states that the Peace Prize portion (which I have put in bold-face) goes to the person "who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, etc." It is difficult to see how the President could have done the "most . . . work" (during what time period? The past year? During one's lifetime?) or (not "and"?) the "best . . . work." The use of the word "work," in any case, makes a strong case for having actually done something to advance the interests described in the excerpt rather than having eloquently expressed certain aspirations along those lines but not yet accomplished anything. On the other hand, an alternate reading (of this English translation) could be that the prize winner should be one who either "did the most [unspecified something] for fraternity between nations," whether or not he did any actual work, or "did the best work" for that purpose. The alternate is a little strained, I would say.
Anyway, Obama, short of turning the honor down (which would have been a work) made a humble and eloquent statement, citing his international aspirations, which many would say is the "most" and/or "best" he could have or at least should have done, under the circumstances.