Obama’s Nobel Prize money: five ideas


Harvard should be proud. Its graduate, President Barack Obama ’91, is the first statesman to prophylactically receive the Nobel Peace Prize (the most recent president to be strongly associated with Yale, George W. Bush, is rather unlikely to receive any Nobel Prize in the immediate future). Unfortunately, this adds another issue to the President’s to-do-list: (1) reform health care; (2) make peace in the Middle East; and (3) decide what to do with the $1.4 million Nobel Prize money. Space does not allow me to sketch out my solution to the Middle East puzzle, and my European mind capitulates in face of the political flaying over Obama’s health care plan, but I am happy to help with regard to the third issue. Mr. President, here’s a list of five projects you could spend the money on:

1) $680,000 to bridging the digital divide between Internet-haves and have-nots, by ensuring that developing states are better represented in the multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum in December in Egypt.

2) $680,000 to study the importance of “human security”, a new security concept that focuses on individuals and not on states, thereby providing new insights on how to combat sources of insecurity, including failing states and over-‘securitization’.

3) $30,000 for a study analyzing the effects of Harvard students’ air conditioner-induced colds and flus on the U.S. health system.

4) $9,000 to reintroduce warm breakfast in Harvard dining halls.

5) $1,000 to make sure Chauncy Street gets a bike path facing westwards.

Since this is settled, Mr. President, you can now channel your forces towards making peace in the Mideast and having Congress pass health care reform.

Matthias C. Kettemann is an LL.M. student from Austria.


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