OSLO — The committee that selects the Nobel Peace Prize winner will consider a record 237 nominations for the 2010 award, a Nobel official said Wednesday.
Surpassing last year's record of 205 nominations, 199 individuals and 38 organizations have been nominated for the coveted prize, said Geir Lundestad, the committee's permanent nonvoting secretary.
"The long-term trend has been upwards. Not every year, but almost every year, we have a record," Lundestad told The Associated Press. "I also think there's a short-term trend. There's a renewed interest in the prize after it went to President (Barack) Obama last year."
Obama received the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for, among other achievements, bringing the U.S. into the fight against global warming and for supporting multilateral diplomacy.
The fiercely secretive Norwegian Nobel Committee refuses to name candidates, but nominators sometimes announce their picks. This year, known nominations include a Russian human rights group, a Chinese dissident and the Internet.
Those with nomination rights include former peace laureates, members of national governments and legislatures, selected university professors and others.
A Norwegian politician nominated Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina and Memorial – a prominent rights group she works with – while a Princeton philosophy professor put forth Liu Xiaobo, a recently jailed Chinese dissident.
Lundestad said the committee reached a final count after its first meeting of the year, on March 9.
At that meeting, the five-member panel added its own nominations to those put forth by others, he said, though he noted that "they did not add particularly many this year."
The 2010 laureate will be announced in mid-October, and the prize will be given out on Dec. 10 at a ceremony in Oslo.