Two weeks ago Bono was winning trophies at the Grammy Awards. Now he's up for perhaps the biggest prize of all, the Nobel variety.
For the second year in a row, and third time in four years, the U2 frontman has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his continuing efforts to erase poverty, debt and disease in developing countries. The nod comes just over a month after he was named one of Time's Persons of the Year for his nonmusical endeavors.
Also last month, Bono turned up at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to unveil a partnership with several top companies, including American Express, Gap and Giorgio Armani, that will sell products branded Red, with 1 percent of profits earmarked for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
About what you'd expect from a guy who wrote a song titled "Love and Peace or Else."
Bono is joined on the ballot by a fellow do-gooder musician, Bob Geldof. The former Boomtown Rat was recognized for organizing last summer's historic Live 8 concerts that attempted to pressure the G8 to enact Third World debt relief. Other big-name Nobel contenders include former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell for his peacemaking efforts to try and bring an end to Sudan's civil war.
Altogether, there were 191 people nominated for the prize, the second highest tally in the 105-year history of the awards; there were 199 names submitted by the Feb. 1 deadline last year. People can be nominated by, among others, politicians, academics, established organizations and activist groups. The list eventually gets whittled down to a single winner by the secretive five-person Norwegian awards committee.
Last year's prize went to the International Atomic Energy Agency's director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, for his work trying to halt nuclear weapons proliferation. Other recipients include the famous--Jimmy Carter, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.--as well as lesser known individuals, like Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai.
As for Bono, the 45-year-old crooner isn't ready to rest on his laurels. With U2 on tour in South America, Bono played to sell-out crowds of 150,000 at Sao Paulo's Morumbi soccer stadium Monday and Tuesday, took time to dine with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and donated a guitar for an auction benefiting da Silva's Zero Hunger anti-poverty campaign, which aims to ensure every Brazilian gets three meals a day by the end of his presidential term.
"Bono said he is involved in [anti-AIDS initiatives] like this, and has sought to learn more about the question of AIDS in Brazil," Gil said in a statement.
The winner of the 2006 Nobel will be announced in mid-October and will receive a $1.3 million cash award in a ceremony in Oslo on Dec. 10.