Pope Francis is among the nominees for 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, experts confirmed Wednesday.
Along with the Pope, U.S. Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, Afghan Women Cycling Team, and Nadia Murad, who escaped ISIS captivity are also nominated for the award this time around.
More candidates are expected to be nominated throughout February for the prestigious award. Members of the five member Norwegian Nobel Committee can submit their votes after their meeting on February 29. The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee typically receives more than 200 nominations for the prestigious prize, and keeps candidates secret for 50 years.
This is the Pope’s third nomination for the award. Although he has been a strong contender for the award in the past years as well, he has repeatedly implored the committee to select somebody else in his place.
Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu has given his backing to Pope Francis, as well as the economist Herman Daly and The Club of Rome think-tank for their “significant contributions to global understanding of sustainable development.”
The Pope has been championed as the “people’s pope” for his work reforming the Catholic church in the 21st century and making the church more appealing to the younger and modern Catholics.
Late last year, the pope privately met with the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, the 2015 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, calling them “architects of peace” for their work rebuilding Tunisia’s democracy after the Jasmine Revolution in 2011.
Norwegian lawmaker Audun Lysbakken nominated Nadia Murad who escaped ISIS sex slavery and is now working as an activist. He said,”We want a peace prize that can awaken the world to the fight against sexual violence as a weapon of war.”
He has also nominated the Congolese surgeon Denis Mukwege, who treats victims of sexual violence in Syrian civil war.
The Afghani women’s cycling team has been nominated by 118 Italian lawmakers to promote “the most democratic means of transportation for all mankind.”
Last year’s recipients of the award included our very own Malala Yousafzai, teenage activist from Pakistan, and Kailash Satyarthi, children’s rights activist from India.