Your Majesties, Your RoyalHighnesses,
Distinguished Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
citizens of America, and citizens of the world:
I receive thishonor with deep gratitude and great humility.
It is an award thatspeaks to our highest aspirations
― that for all the cruelty andhardship of our world,
we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actionsmatter,
and can bend history in the direction of justice.
Andyet I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge
the considerablecontroversy that your generous decision
has generated. In part, this isbecause I am at the beginning,
and not the end, of my labors on theworld stage. Compared
to some of the giants of history who havereceived this prize
― Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela
― myaccomplishments are slight.
And then there are the men and women aroundthe world
who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice;
those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relieve suffering;
theunrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage
and compassioninspire even the most hardened of cynics.
I cannot argue with those whofind these men and women
― some known, some obscure to all but thosethey help
― to be far more deserving of this honor than I.