Tunisian Nobel winners to get extra medals... at their own expense

To avoid any possible envy between the winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize four more medals will be struck for the Tunisian quartet

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To avoid any possible envy between the winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel institute announced Wednesday that a gold medal will be awarded to each member of the prizewinning Tunisian quartet -- but at their own expense.

The prestigious prize was awarded to Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet on Oct. 9 for its work in building the only democracy that emerged from the Arab Spring.

The Nobel medal is awarded to individuals or to a group.

This year, it went to the quartet, which will receive the official solid gold medal.

But the four separate groups that make up the quartet -- the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), the Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers -- all want to each have their own medals as well.

At the Tunisians’ request, “four (more) medals will be struck,” Nobel Institute director Olav Njolstad told AFP, ahead of the award ceremony in Oslo on Dec. 10.

There is also a fifth medal awarded to the quarter collectively.

The Nobel panel can mint up to three replica medals in gold-plated bronze for laureates, but the Tunisians wanted their replicas in solid gold, like the original.

“They are paying the difference in price that this involves,” Njolstad said, without giving details. “The price of gold varies from day to day.”

Formed in 2013 when the process of democratization was in danger of collapsing in Tunisia because of widespread social unrest, the quartet established an alternative, peaceful political process as Tunisia was on the brink of civil war, the committee said.

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