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Experiments with Peace : Celebrating Peace on Johan Galtung’s 80th Birthday

Jørgen Johansen & John Jones (Eds), Fahamu Books, February 2011, ISBN-10 0-85749-026-5

Jørgen Johansen & John Jones (Eds),
Experiments with Peace : Celebrating Peace on Johan Galtung’s 80th Birthday,
Fahamu Books, February 2011,
ISBN-10 0-85749-026-5

In honour of Johan Galtung at 80, Experiments with Peace features forewords by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Narayan Desai, along with chapters from 34 other leading contributors in celebration of peace and non-violent struggles for justice and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

Peace has been the overarching theme in Johan Galtung’s many endeavours throughout his long life’s journey. And what a journey it has been in so many respects : not only in his path covering the world’s five continents by visits to universities, politicians, activists and challenging zones of conflict, but also in his readiness to see new areas, new groups and new angles. From his very first academic years to the hectic days around his 80th anniversary, his always challenging approach to peace brings anything but tranquillity to the conversation and discourse he engages in. What may appear as stubbornness or love for the confrontational is the facade of an unwavering dedication to this pursuit of peace, be it in understanding the micro-relationship between spouses or family members, or grasping, analysing and confronting the vast structures of imperial domination on a global scale over decades. Galtung’s engagement does not stop at understanding but seeks to change and move, as evidenced by his response on the issue of ’September 11 2001 : Diagnosis, Prognosis and Therapy’.

Given Johan Galtung’s broad output of around 120 books and 1,000 articles, the selection of a few examples can in no way do justice to his writing. In addition to a vast production of books, research and articles, and a frantic travelling schedule between lectures and meetings is the impressive list of institutions he has initiated from the very first days of his long academic career.

After receiving his mag. art. degree in 1957, Galtung moved to Columbia University in New York, returning to Oslo in 1959, where he founded the International Peace Research Institute (PRIO). As its director for 10 years he saw the institute develop from a department within the Norwegian Institute of Social Research into an independent research institute. In 1964 the first academic journal devoted to Peace Studies : the Journal of Peace Research was established, and that same year Galtung assisted in the founding of the International Peace Research Association.

In 1969 Galtung became professor of peace and conflict research at the University of Oslo, a position he held until 1978. He then served as the director general of the International University Centre in Dubrovnik, as well as president of the World Future Studies Federation. He has also held visiting positions at other universities, including Santiago, Chile, the United Nations University in Geneva, and at Columbia, Princeton and the University of Hawaii. He is currently teaching at Saybrook University.

The late Elise Boulding, who knew him like few others, stated that Johan Galtung has served at so many universities ’that he has probably taught more students on more campuses around the world than any other contemporary sociologist’.

’I love to salute this peacemaker on his 80th birthday. I know he will celebrate it at many events in many countries. I am told that he will use all these opportunities as he has used his life as a peacemaker.’
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner

’Today [Johan’s] extraordinary and exemplary labour is recognised not only by those who work for peace, but also by those who are directly engaged in wars. Not only are cupboards in UN and UNESCO libraries filled with books and papers produced by him, but his advice is often sought as an expert by conflicting parties.’
Narayan Desai, Gandhian scholar and activist

This book is being produced with the kind support of the Dag Hammarskjöld Program and Networkers South–North.

The hardback version was released in October 2010 and the paperback version will be released in February 2011.

Fahamu Books

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