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Johan Galtung, 93, Norwegian sociologist & Peace Research Institute Oslo founder

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Feb 17, 2024, 1:52:00 PMFeb 17
(many obits from the foreign press - all in English!)

Remembering Johan Galtung: A Pioneer in Peace and Conflict Studies
The world mourns the loss of Johan Galtung, a pioneer in peace and conflict studies. His groundbreaking work in academia and real-world conflict resolution has left an indelible mark on the field and will continue to inspire future generations.

BNN Correspondents
17 Feb 2024 10:44 EST

On a quiet February day, the world lost a towering figure in the realm of peace and conflict studies. Johan Galtung, the revered founder of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the Journal of Peace Research, passed away at the age of 93. Born on October 24, 1930, Galtung's journey was not just a testament to academic excellence but a beacon of hope for a world riven by conflict. His demise on February 17, 2024, marks the end of an era for those who've looked up to his teachings and endeavored to understand the complex tapestry of global peace and conflict.

A Legacy Carved in the Annals of Peace Research

Galtung's career was a mosaic of groundbreaking achievements. Notably, he was the world's first professor of conflict and peace research at the University of Oslo, where his tenure spanned a decade from 1969 to 1978. His intellectual pursuits were not confined within the walls of academia; they were the lifelines that connected various disciplines—mathematics, sociology, political science, and theology—under the umbrella of peace studies. Galtung's contributions were pivotal in establishing peace research as a distinct field of study, laying the foundation of PRIO in 1959, and subsequently, the Journal of Peace Research in 1964.

His scholarly output was prodigious, with over 150 books and 1,000 scientific articles to his name. These works traversed the themes of structural violence, social positions, and the intricate dynamics of international relations. Galtung's theories on imperialism, peace, and conflict resolution have left an indelible mark on the study of geopolitics and sociology, influencing generations of scholars and practitioners alike.

A Life Dedicated to the Pursuit of Peace

Galtung was not just a theorist; his life was a testament to the practical application of his peacebuilding methodologies. His role as a mediator and consultant in over 100 conflicts worldwide showcased his commitment to applying academic insights to real-world disputes. Galtung's efforts were recognized globally, earning him the Right Livelihood Award in 1987 among numerous other accolades.

Despite facing controversies over his political views, Galtung remained a figure of immense respect and influence. His bold predictions about the future of global politics and his tireless engagement in dialogue with critics reflected a spirit unafraid of controversy and committed to intellectual openness. Galtung's work on non-violence, drawing from the principles of Gandhi, underscored his belief in the power of peaceful dialogue over confrontation.

The Enduring Influence of Johan Galtung
As news of Galtung's passing spreads, the global community of peace researchers, policymakers, and activists mourns the loss of a luminary. His legacy, however, remains vibrant in the institutions he founded and the vast corpus of literature he contributed to the field of peace and conflict studies. Galtung's life was a journey dedicated to understanding and mitigating the forces of conflict, driven by an unwavering commitment to creating a more peaceful world.

He leaves behind a world that, while still fraught with conflict, has been indelibly shaped by his vision of peace and his methodologies for achieving it. Survived by his spouse, Fumiko Nishimura Galtung, and four children, Johan Galtung's legacy will continue to inspire and challenge future generations to pursue a world where dialogue triumphs over discord, and peace is a reality, not just an aspiration.

In commemorating Johan Galtung's contributions, we reflect on a life that encapsulated the essence of peace research. His intellectual rigor, combined with a passionate commitment to peace, has paved the way for future explorations into the complex dynamics of global harmony. Galtung's departure is a poignant reminder of the fragility of peace and the continuous effort required to sustain it in our world.

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