The Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 is set to be announced on Friday, and even though the names of the nominees have not been declared, there has been much talk about the likely contenders for the prestigious laurel.
Among the names being discussed as the favourites for the Nobel Peace Prize 2015 are that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Pope Francis, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Dmitry Muratov, editor of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and, as per some reports, even Edward Snowden.
Overall, there are 273 candidates for the peace prize this year, including 205 individuals and 68 organisations.
Whoever is declared the winner of the nobel laureate will join the glorious company of Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr, Malala Yousafzai, and India's Kailash Satyarthi.
Merkel's name seems to top many lists, including that of Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, who has been making predictions for the Nobel Peace Prize for over a decade.
The German leader has received praise for her 'open doors' policy for thousands of refugees, especially in the light of the grave refugee crisis that has seen thousands of people from war-torn countries such as Syria and Afghanistan reach the shores of Europe.
Thousands of refugees have also perished this year trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, comprising a large number of Syrians fleeing the deadly civil war and the brutal Isis.
"In a time when many have dodged responsibility, Merkel has shown true leadership and risen above politics, taking a humane approach in a difficult situation. Merkel may perhaps not qualify as an altruistic Mother Theresa, and her stance has toughened in recent weeks, but a collective European response to the current situation and handling of migrants and refugees in the future, is unthinkable without Merkel at the helm," Harpviken said.
Merkel has also been lauded for her role in brokering the Ukraine ceasefire.
Dmitry Muratov, editor of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta
Novaya Gazeta, the independent Russian newspaper bravely critical of President Vladimir Putin, has been in the running for the peace prize for some years, and is again among the favourites this year.
Some journalists of the newspaper have been killed in the past for their critical articles about the Russian leadership, but editor Dmitry Muratov has continued with the paper's journalistic approach. The newspaper was launched by Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union.
"The space for independent media continues to be shrinking in Russia, with the newspaper Novaya Gazeta and its editor Dmitry Muratov impressively holding on to the principles of journalism, despite severe costs," Harpviken said.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC Commander Timoleón Jiménez
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has pushed his government closer to a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels, which could bring to an end five decades of insurgency by the leftist group.
Santos and FARC Commander Timoleón Jiménez reached a consensus for the peace deal in Havana, Cuba, last month.
"For the involved parties to set aside decade-long grievances in a conflict where both sides have committed atrocities is a grand achievement," Harpviken said.
The Argentine Pope has been regarded across communities to be among the most liberal Catholic leaders in recent years, and is also known to make pointed comments on political issues.
Pope Francis was also said to have been a favourite to win last year.
The Pope is said to have been instrumental in helping revive US-Cuba relations, and has been popular among the younger generations for his more tolerant views on homosexuality and abortion.
Article 9 Association
The Article 9 Association is among the many institutions up for the peace prize for its efforts to 'renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation'. The Japanese group had been pressuring the government in its country to not denounce its constitutional clause that prohibits Japan from sending troops to fight overseas.
However, Japan did overturn the clause last month after the Japanese parliament voted for a shift in the defence policy.
"Those working for the preservation of article 9 see international recognition – such as the Nobel Peace Prize – as important for what they perceive to be a basic national value," Harpviken wrote.
WHERE TO WATCH LIVE:
The Nobel Peace Prize 2015 will be announced on 9 October, Friday, at 11.00 am (local time in Sweden) by Kaci Kullmann Five, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
You can catch the LIVE announcement on the YouTube video below or through the official website.