Obama awarded 2009 Nobel Peace Prize
(CNN) -- President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a stunning decision that comes just eight months into his presidency.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it honored Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
The president had not been mentioned as among front-runners for the prize, and the roomful of reporters gasped when Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel committee, uttered Obama's name.
The president, who was awakened to be told he had won, said he was humbled to be selected, according to an administration official.
The Nobel committee recognized Obama's efforts to solve complex global problems including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons.
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said.
Jagland said the decision was "unanimous" and came with ease.
He rejected the notion that Obama had been recognized prematurely for his efforts and said the committee wanted to promote the president just it had Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 in his efforts to open up the Soviet Union.
"His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population," it said.
Obama's recognition comes less than a year after he became the first African-American to win the White House. He is the fourth U.S. president to win the prestigious prize and the third sitting president to do so.
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