When U.S. President Barak Obama was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace on October 9, he interpreted the award as a call to action. You might not know this, but students at Candler and Emory have pretty amazing access to and experiences with Nobel Laureates past and present. Here are some of the Nobel Laureates and their Candler/Emory connections that have called our students to action.

President Jimmy Carter
Nobel Prize for Peace, 2002

President Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2002.

President Carter is Emory University Presidential Distinguished Professor, giving regular lectures around the university and hosting Town Hall meetings every fall for incoming Emory Freshman. In 2002, President Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize for his and The Carter Center’s work (the Carter Center is an Emory University affiliate) in peacemaking, promoting democracy and human rights, and social and economic development.

Last fall, President Carter dropped in on Candler professor Dr. Tom Flores’ class, Sacred Ambivalence: Violence, Peacebuilding, and Interfaith Dialogue. The class was discussion how one’s religious background and faith affects dialogue and peace building. Carter spoke to the class about the signing, with President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, of the Camp David Accords on September 17, 1978, a milestone in Middle East peace talks.

Check out this conversation with the Jimmy and Roselynn Carter on iTunes University.

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama
Nobel Prize for Peace, 1989


Like President Carter, HH the Dalai Lama serves Emory as a Presidential Distinguished Professor.  The Dalai Lama’s 2007 professorship––the first

university appointment accepted by the 1989 Nobel Peace Laureate and leader of the Tibetan people––is an outgrowth of the Emory-Tibet Partnership, which was founded in 1998 to bring together the best of Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions.

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, who will return to Emory Oct. 17-19, 2010, in his role as Presidential Distinguished Profes

sor, has announced a gift of $50,000 to the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, an historic and ambitious undertaking to develop and implement a comprehensive science education curriculum for Tibetan monastics.

Check out HH the Dalai Lama’s Introduction to Buddhism lecture on YouTube

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Nobel Prize for Peace, 1984

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Archbishop Tutu served Candler and Emory for two years, from 1998 – 2000, as the Robert R Woodruff Visiting Professor and then the William R Cannon Visiting Distinguished Professor. His tenure at Candler was his first academic appointment (he has subsequently taught at King’s College in London, England). In addition to public lectures, he taught two courses, a seminar on “Transfiguration, Forgiveness and Reconciliation” in the spring and fall of 1999, and a lecture class on “God and Us: Introduction to Contextual Theology and Ministry.”

Seamus Heaney
Nobel Prize for Literature, 1995


In 2003, the Woodruff Library of Emory University acquired a major portion of the archive of the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney. The collection of personal and literary papers includes thousands of letters spanning Heaney’s entire career as well as printed materials, tape recordings and photographs. Heaney made the announcement Tuesday, Sept. 23 prior to a reading at Emory in honor of the university’s then-recently retired president, William M. Chace.

Akinwande Oluwole “Wole” Soyinka
Nobel Prize for Literature, 1986

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Wole Soyinka (born 13 July 1934) is a Nigerian writer, poet and playwright.  He was the first African to be so honored. After fleeing his native Nigeria in 1994, Soyinka served for the spring semester of 1996 as Emory Distinguished Visiting Professor in African American Studies. Soyinka joined the faculty in the fall of 1996, teaching with a focus on personal writing and dramatic projects. At Emory, he lectured in various disciplines, including art history, drama, and political science. He also collaborated with Theater Emory, in partnership with which he directed a staged reading of his play 1994, a satire on political correctness.