Johan Galtung – Norway

Linked with Transcent, with Kai Frithof Brand-Jacobsen – Romania & Canada & Norway, with The power of non-violence, with Violence, War, and Their Impact, with The Transnational Foundation, and with TRANSCEND’s Advanced International Training Programme.

Johan Galtung (born October 24, 1930, in Oslo, Norway) is a Norwegian professor, founder and Director of TRANSCEND, a Peace and Development Network for Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means, with more than 300 members from over 80 countries around the world. He is also Rector of TRANSCEND Peace University (TPU). He is seen as the pioneer of peace and conflict research and founded the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo. He is also one of the authors of an influential account of news values, the factors which determine coverage given to a given topic in the news media. Galtung also originated the concept of Peace Journalism, increasingly influential in communications and media studies. (Read more on wikipedia).

He says, about non-violent struggle: ” … You should rather start with a Buddhist-Hindu conceptualization of karma, and stress the Co-dependent Origination Principle in Buddhism which, in Japanese, is referred to as ‘engi.’ This idea is that you and I may think we are separated today by gigantic differences, but if we look a little bit deeper, back in time, we are actually united. We have to get back to this bedrock of universality whenever there’s something separating us. If there’s conflict we must step back and say, “Why don’t we sit down and talk about this?” The image I use is of karma as a boat. The problems of life require us to travel in that boat together when the water is seeping in and the boat is slowly sinking. Now the good Western approach is to blame somebody for the predicament. We want to assemble a courtroom at the tail end of the boat while it is sinking nicely. A good Buddhist approach is to say, well, let us meditate first. Go inside ourselves. Then we can have a dialogue, and out of the dialogue we can decide what to do about the leaks. And while doing that, we may consider constructing a new boat. The question ‘Who did what?’ becomes immaterial. I completely embrace this method, and so did Gandhi. At one point he even said that perhaps he was actually a Buddhist”. (Read more on portland independent media center).

Johan Galtung - Norway two.jpg

Johan Galtung – Norway

Listen to four video-clips on Big-Picture.

Read all articles of Johan Galtung on Transcent.

He is an experienced peace worker and Professor of Peace Studies, he is widely regarded as the founder of the academic discipline of peace research and one of the leading pioneers of peace and conflict transformation in theory and practice.

He has played an active role in helping mediate and prevent violence in 45 major conflicts around the world over the past four decades, and is author of the United Nations’ first ever manual for trainers and participants on “Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means: The TRANSCEND Approach” (UNDP 2000). He has taught Peace Studies at the Universities of Hawai’i, Witten/Herdecke, Tromsoe, Alicante, Ritsumeikan and the European Peace University, among many others. Galtung established the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) in 1959, the Journal of Peace Research in 1964, and co-launched the Nordic Institute for Peace Research (NIFF) in 2000. He has published more than 1000 articles covering a wide-range of fields, including peaceful conflict transformation, deep culture, peace pedogogy, reconciliation, development, peace building and empowerment, global governance, direct structural and cultural peace/violence, peace journalism, and reflections on current events, and more than 100 books translated into dozens of languages. His most recent books include Transcend and Transform (Pluto Press, 2004), Searching for Peace the Road to TRANSCEND (Pluto, 2000 & 2002), Peace by Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization. (Sage, 1996), Collective Essays on Peace Research and Methodology (Christian Ejlers, Copenhagen) 60 Speeches on War and Peace (PRIO, 1990)]. Prof. Galtung is a consultant to several UN agencies and a constantly traveling trainer/lecturer. He holds numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the Right Livelihood Award (the “Alternative Nobel Prize”) from 1987. (Read more on

He says also: “The basic pillar of my approach is to sit down with all the parties in the conflict. Not together, only one at a time. They should not meet if the conflict is hard. They should only meet when they are ready for it, and they’re usually not. So you sit there and try to have a dialogue without any predetermined end. What you do is to try to understand the inner logic of the person you’re with, to the point where you almost feel that the borders between the two of you start disappearing. On some occasions, during this process, the other person has often exclaimed to me: “It’s amazing, you understand me better than my own deputy prime minister!” Such responses have convinced me that peace workers can train themselves to establish this deep kind of communication. Of course, sometimes I have to restrain myself, and not point out that perhaps the deputy prime minister wants to replace his boss, and so needs a certain border between them. I, on the other hand, have no interest other than understanding the positions of the persons I’m working with. Often, this can make it easier for the peace worker to work with a leader than even his closest advisors”. (Read more on portland independent media center).

And finally he said: “I was at a meeting at Princeton University on my way down to an assignment for UNESCO in Chile, in 1965, and ran into a professor who said, “Johan, you have the three abilities that we need for a project called ‘Camelot.’ You know about conflict, you know about development and you speak Spanish. We would like to ask you to participate in this project that has to do with the relationship between conflict and development. You’ll work with a team in Chile.” I said, “Okay, send me the papers.” Now the secretary who sent me the papers made a mistake. She put in a slip of paper intended for a higher level of participant. On it was written the real purpose of the project: to find out how the United States Army could help armies in friendly countries. I was not supposed to have seen that, but I did. I started writing letters to my American colleagues. “Are you aware of what you are participating in?” These scholars comprised the blue book of U.S. Sociology at the time. They wrote letters back saying: “Johan, donÕt take it so seriously. In the U.S.A. you always have to bring in the military to get money and you should see it as a very good way of starting funding for social research.” I was not buying that. I knew my colleagues too well. I replied: “Okay. Either you or I are making a basic mistake. I think I’m closer to the scene, and I’m going to do my best to work against Project Camelot.” Two months of very intensive work followed, and in the end the documentation landed on the desk of the President of Chile. His name was Eduardo Frei, the father of the present President of Chile. The father became absolutely furious. He had just had very difficult negotiations with the Americans over the same two copper mines that Allende later nationalized, and said that if the Camelot project wasn’t cancelled immediately, Chile would break off diplomatic relations with the U.S.A.. The project was set up to have American social scientists, together with their Chilean counterparts, spying on Chile for the U.S. Army. Fortunately, after receiving the Chilean ultimatum, President Lyndon Johnson cancelled the project the same afternoon. It was in the New York Times, and there was somewhere mention of an unknown Norwegian sociologist with the name Johan Galtung. I also remember the communist paper in Chile had a big headline calling me the “Archangel of Chile.” Interesting communist terminology, but this is, you know, Don Camillo country, so we have a nice relationship between left-wing Catholicism and Marxism. But I’d like to add a comment. In order to get the project rescinded–which was not easy–I had to cooperate with some Chileans who had declared themselves Marxist. I didnÕt find a single one who wanted to completely torpedo the project. They said: “Ah, but this is so much money, and we can just give them fake information.” Now, I don’t play with science that way. The person with whom I could cooperate was a left-wing Catholic. He and I did the job together”. (Read all on the very long interview, ‘The Education of a Peacemaker’, with the portland independent media center).

Some recent books: on Transcent:
l En Flyveappelsin Forteller
l Searching for Peace: The Road to TRANSCEND
l Peace by Peaceful Means (UK/EU)
l Peace by Peaceful Means (US)

All his books:
on amazon;
on one million papers;
on wikipedia.


Universitetet i Oslo;

International Peace Research Institute.

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