WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday he would accept the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize as a call to action to seek greater global engagement on issues.
"I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations," Obama said, adding he was surprised and humbled. "I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures honored by this prize."
He said, however, he would accept the award "as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century ... that can't be met by any one leader or any one nation."
Obama said he was aware that the Nobel Peace Prize sometimes is awarded not as recognition for accomplishments but "as a means to give momentum."
He acknowledged the irony that he was recognized as a peacemaker while he decides the U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan "against a ruthless adversary" threatening the United States and its allies
Obama spoke of global issues and hoped-for outcomes -- nuclear non-proliferation, the economy, education and employment -- that he has discussed before
"And even as we strive to seek a world in which conflicts are resolved peacefully and prosperity is widely shared, we have to confront the world as we know it today," he said. "But I know these challenges can be met, so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone."
"And that's why this award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity," he said.
The White House later said Obama would give the $1.4 million prize accompanying the Nobel Peace Prize to charity.