(CNN) - President Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
The first African-American to win the White House, Obama was praised by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said. "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."
The committee also said Obama has "created a new climate in international politics."
The announcement came as a surprise - Obama's name had not been mentioned among front-runners - and the roomful of reporters in Oslo, Norway, gasped when he was named.
In his short time in office, Obama has acted on a wide range of issues from the economy to terrorism and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Obama also lobbied unsuccessfully to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago, Illinois. After returning from Denmark, Obama expressed no regret about his trip, saying it is "always a worthwhile endeavor to promote and boost the United States."