The winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced this Friday, October 7th. Every year, the prize is awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Recent laureates include Barack Obama, Al Gore, and Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese peace activist, who was under arrest at the time of his award.

Last week, a former Norwegian prime minister ignited speculation about this year's winner by announcing, "It will be an interesting and very important prize ... I think it will be well-received." Will it be Bradley ManningJulian Assange, of Wikileaks fame? Social Media? Or will the Nobel Committee recognize the activists behind the Arab Spring? One confirmed nominee is Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia and leader of the party "Movimiento al Socialismo," which aims to reduce poverty, re-nationalize the country's energy sector, fight corruption, and increase taxes on the wealthy. Watch Big Think's interview with Evo Morales here:

Other Nobel Laureates:

  • Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter won the 2002 award for his efforts to "find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development." In a video interview with Big Think, Carter critiqued his four years in office and offered up his advice to the current president. What did one Nobel Laureate say to the other? "Stick to your guns."
  • In 2006, Muhammed Yunus and Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below." Defying the advice of banks and government, Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist, founded Grameen in 1983 to disperse micro-loans directly to individuals. The name, which means "village bank," reflects the spirit of solidarity and trust with which it was founded. Today, Grameen serves 2.1 million borrowers in 37,000 villages. Over 98% of the loans are paid back, a recovery rate higher than any other banking system in the world.

Who do you think should win this year's Nobel Peace Prize?