Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Distinguished Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Citizens of America, and Citizens of the World:
I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility. It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations — that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice.
Justice and peace are irrevocably intertwined. Some would say they are synonymous. Too often in practice they are not, because of the imbalances of power that prevail in the world today. All informed and conscientious people would agree that peace is the preferred state of affairs, within nations and between nations. Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the fact that we, as human beings, come from an often brutish past, vestiges of a time when nature was indeed red in tooth and claw.
But times change. And people change. I stand before you, and the world, as a testament to change. I stand before you as a testament to the nonviolent struggles of my forefathers. It is only through the tireless, loving and peaceful actions of the civil rights movement in America and other countries that I could have earned the privilege to lead the world’s last remaining superpower. I will not — I cannot — forget the debts I owe to those who preceded me.
Read the rest at Noozhawk.