US president Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize just nine months into his term.

He was given the accolade for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said, “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. 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 cited his promise for nuclear disarmament and his work to restart the Middle East peace process as reasons for the award.

The president is due to speak at a gay rights dinner tomorrow, ahead of a march on Washington.

He was invited to speak by the Human Rights Campaign and will be the second president to do so after Bill Clinton.

Obama promised a wealth of positive changes for gays and lesbians in his election manifesto, although activists have been disappointed that policies such as the military gay ban and the Defence of Marriage Act are still in place.