World Christian leaders are looking to the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to U.S. President Barack Obama as an incentive for greater efforts for global peace from the American leader. The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Samuel Kobia, said in a letter to Obama, “The award is a call and encouragement to build upon the important work you have already initiated.”
Rev. Kobia highlighted Obama’s efforts to promote the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, his stance on climate change, and his, “eagerness for easing conflicts with Islamic nations.”
The Kenyan leader of the Geneva-based WCC and his Norwegian successor, Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit – who assumes office in 2010 – joined in praising Obama’s “initiatives for promoting a new ethos and values in international relations based on a diplomacy of mutual recognition and shared responsibilities.”
Rev. Kobia said, “I am confident that this approach will ensure positive new developments.”
Also in Geneva, Rev. Setri Nyomi, a Ghanaian who is general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, said of the award, “This is the right choice. We thank God for the wisdom President Obama continues to exhibit in navigating the complex issues of his nation and of the world – seeking peace, seeking justice and seeking the welfare of all.”
The choice of Obama for the peace prize should inspire younger generations to become “bridge builders for understanding and reconciliation,” said the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, Rev. Ishmael Noko, a Zimbabwean theologian.
“President Obama has helped generate a tidal wave of hope around the world,” said Rev. Noko after the announcement of the award on Oct.9. The prize had been awarded to Obama for his efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation.
Obama “has begun to restore broken relationships, including across faith boundaries,” said Noko. These are very significant contributions to progress towards peace and security, and important foundations for facing the global crises we must face.”
Noko cited Obama’s involvement in the search for peace in the Holy Land. “His leadership in this matter deserves the active support of all people of good will, for the sake of both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, and for the sake of peace with justice in the land of Christ’s birth.”
In Rome, Vatican spokesperson Rev. Federico Lombardi said the Roman Catholic Church “salutes with appreciation” the award to Obama, the Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported.
Rev. Lombardi referred to “the commitment shown by the president towards the promotion of international peace and recently in favour of nuclear disarmament.”