Nepal’s First Peace Event 2013 with Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung

TRANSCEND News, 11 February 2013

Dr. Bishnu Pathak – TRANSCEND Media Service

Although the (re)integration of former combatants of the Maoist Army mostly into the society,  but also a few into the Nepal Army, has partially culminated the peace process, Nepal still faces a number of challenges. The Constituent Assembly (CA) had become defunct on May 27, 2012 without promulgating a new constitution even after four years of its normal and extended tenure. And now, Nepal lacks elected bodies from central to grassroots levels. The debates over identity (ethnicity) based federal structure of the state had raised sharp differences among the mainstream political parties on the model and number of federal states. Besides, the informal power tussle between the President and the Prime Minister created doubts whether the transition to a Federal Democratic Republic would indeed be successful.

The political parties remain divided. Many constitutional authorities, namely Commission for Investigation and Abuse of Authority, Election Commission, Public Service Commission, Courts, etc. are functioning either without the head or members or both. The bureaucracy has largely been paralyzed. A blanket amnesty against the perpetrators of human rights during the decade old armed conflict (February 13, 1996 to November 21, 2006) has been widely condemned. The lack of regular budget in time has almost stopped investment and made it difficult for the donors to disburse their funds.

In order to overcome the protracted deadlock of all the stakeholders such as government authorities, political parties, civil society, academia, and the international community, there is an urgent need to share opinions and have common understanding on the current priorities of the nation to have general election as well as local elections putting behind all the differences. It seems that the experiences of national politicians and their pressure tactics are not enough to resolve the present political impasse. Perhaps an internationally acclaimed person of authority on conflict transformation by peaceful means may ignite the political consensus process amongst the concerned stakeholders and actors of Nepal. In the context, it is natural to have great expectations from the Founding Father of Peace Studies in the world, Professor Dr. Johan Galtung, who is visiting Nepal for the first Peace Event in Kathmandu from February 10th to 18th, 2013.

Who is Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung, the principal founder of Peace and Conflict Studies, was born in Oslo on October 24, 1930. He had earned a Ph.D. degree in Mathematics in 1956 and yet another Ph.D. in Sociology in 1957, both from the University of Oslo. He remains engaged in mediation and research in conflicts and variously lives in Spain, France, Japan and the USA,

Prof. Galtung is the founder of TRANSCEND: A Network for Peace, Development and Environment (1992), TRANSCEND Peace University, TRANSCEND Media Service, TRANSCEND University Press, TRANSCEND Peace Service, and TRANSCEND Research Institute. With 26 conveners, TRANSCEND is present in 14 regions of the world today, which include Latin America, North America, Euro Latina, Europe Deutsch, Europe Nordic, Eastern Europe, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) including Russia, Africa, Arab World, Middle East, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Pacific Oceania and South Asia. PCSC in Kathmandu is one of the conveners in South Asia.

Prof. Galtung had founded the world’s first academic peace institute, the International Peace Research Institute (PRIO) in Oslo in 1959 after returning from Columbia University in New York, where he had taught mathematical sociology. He had also founded the Journal of Peace Research in 1964 and he helped found International Peace Research Association in 1964. He had served as PRIO’s director until 1969 when he was appointed as the world’s first chair of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Oslo where he continued for the next ten years.

He had served as the first president of the World Future Studies Federation from 1973 to 1977, and he also served as the Director General of the International University Center in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia from 1974 to 1977. As a visiting professor, he has lectured in many universities, viz. Santiago, Chile; Tampere, Finland; Tromsö, Norway; Uppsala, Sweden; Torino, Italy; Alicante, Spain; Soka, Japan; the International Institute for Development Studies in Geneva; Princeton, Hawaii, Columbia and Saybrook; Sichuan; Berlin, Witten‑Herdecke, Germany; Puebla, Mexico; and so on.

Prof. Galtung has probably taught more students at universities throughout the world than anyone else in history. He has also coordinated a big international research project on Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development with 16 sub-projects for the United Nations University 1978-81. Prof. Galtung has conducted a great deal of research in many fields and has made highly original contributions to peace studies, peace education, peace journalism, peace mathematics, peaceful conflict transformation, reconciliation, foreign policy, international relations, non-offensive defense, human rights, basic needs, development strategies, peace economics, macro-history, theory of civilizations, federalism, globalization, and global communications, theory of discourse, social pathologies, deep culture, deep structure, peace and religions, social science methodology, epistemology, sociology, ecology, and future studies. His list of publications so far consists of 1843 items comprising 160 books translated into 34 languages, including Nepali.

Prof. Galtung had introduced the concepts of negative and positive peace, and direct, structural and cultural violence. As his parents and ancestors were medical doctors and nurses for many generations, he makes use of the medical terms, viz. diagnosis, prognosis and therapy to tackle not only individual nation patients, but also societies by conducting their pathological tests in order to create violence-free vasundhara, the world altogether.

One of his recent books, The Fall of the US Empire — And then What? predicts the end of the US hegemony by 2020. It has already created a big public debate, particularly in the USA. He lists 14 growing contradictions that he expects will lead to the decline and fall of the US Empire, leading the USA to become a normal country like others, without conducting foreign military interventions and maintaining 850 military bases in 150 countries. Freed from the albatross of the empire, the US Republic may indeed blossom.

Based on a list of five growing and mutually reinforcing contradictions, he had predicted in 1980 that the Soviet empire would collapse within ten years, starting at its weakest point, the Berlin Wall. Few believed him at the time, but it happened — two months before his predicted deadline.

Dr. Galtung’s first book as its coauthor with his mentor Arne Naess, Gandhi’s Political Ethics was published in 1955. One of the roots of his lifelong commitment to peace was seeing his father arrested by the Nazis as a 12‑year old boy. At age 21, he became a conscientious objector, doing a year of civilian instead of military service. He was willing to serve the additional 6 months required of those who opted for civilian instead of military service, but only if he was allowed to work for peace. This was denied by the Norwegian government, and he was imprisoned with murderers and other violent criminals for six months.

Prof. Galtung is widely known as the Father of Peace Studies. In the past six decades, he has introduced peace studies as an academic discipline in many institutions. Today, more than 500 academic programs at various universities all over the world are offered as peace studies courses. Prof. Galtung has devoted his life in promoting peace by strengthening mutually beneficial and equitable cooperation, empathy and harmony, by healing past traumas through reconciliation, and by reducing violence through peaceful conflict transformation.

Prof. Galtung’s tireless dedication to peace has been recognized with 13 honorary doctorates and professorships and an alternative Nobel Prize, the Right Livelihood Award, in 1987 besides many other peace awards. The Galtung Institute for Peace Theory and Peace Practice was established in Grenzach-Wyhlen, near Basel in Germany in 2011. Its goal is to continue contributing to further development of peace theory and practice in the interest of desperately needed reduction of human and environmental suffering.

At the Bottom

Prof. Galtung’s visit invariably contributes to identify mediation and facilitation models for conflict transformation, conflict resolution, conflict management, and conflict prevention among the concerned parties, civil society and academia. His experiences on mediation and facilitation assist to spread, enhance and reinforce the public debate on peace, raise awareness and create a common understanding on peace and its priorities in order to manage people’s expectations and capacities. It is hoped that his understanding will benefit the politicians who may work together in a post-conflict situation to eventually make Nepal’s peace and transitional security process a tangible reality.

________________________

Bishnu Pathak, a PhD holder in Conflict management and Human Rights, is the President and Director of Conflict Study Center. He is the Convener of South Asia; TRANSCEND International and Board Member of TRANSCEND Peace University. Besides penning of the book entitled “Politics of People’s War and Human Rights in Nepal”, he  has published a number of research articles on issues related to Human Rights, UN, Security, Peace, Civil-Military Relations, Community Policing, and Federalism.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 11 February 2013.

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16 Responses to “Nepal’s First Peace Event 2013 with Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung”

  1. […] View article: TRANSCEND MEDIA SERVICE » Nepal's First Peace Event 2013 … […]

  2. Dear Bishnu,

    I wish you all, Johan and all those listening to him,a great week in Kathmandu. I hope you remember what I wrote to you and the King left control of the country and you and your colleagues were elated.

    I basically said “you have solved nothing”. In fact, I said “your problems, new problems, more problems, start now”. I explained to you why you were wrong to assume there was or will be Democracy in Nepal. I told you several times of USA(CIA) UK (MI6) and many other powerful countries controlling Nepal, for the sake of their own prosperity and for political strength. All of this, preventing progress. I wrote to you about the close businesses going on between Embassies (diplomats) and Nepal’s politicians, enriching the pockets of the said politicians whilst increasing Nepal’s debts. I told you of the dangers of political divisions and the problems they would create.

    Your description of today’s Nepal is more or less exactly what I predicted. I can safely say that, unless an anti-military stance is taken by Government, things will simply get worse, with new interests, new people trying to obtain power and wealth the quick way: arm deals.

    Best wishes,

    Alberto
    PS you have to understand that weapons and money create great harmony and friendships, much understanding and loyalty between practicioners of the military religion.

    • Prof. Bishnu Pathak says:

      Dear Professor;

      I am so happy to hear from you. Thank you so much indeed. I also doing research on foreign aid and democracy. I will like to quote your logical write up if you grant me permission.

      Thank you again.

  3. ingrid kepler-may says:

    Dear Johan and Prof. Pathak,
    I am delighted that I’ll be in Kathmandu the same time you will be there to help mediate peace.. (There are no coincidences: My Chinese friend invited me without knowing that you would be there, nor was I aware of this until now.) I so much hope you can work wonders in Nepal and that I can help in ANY way possible. I also hope an anti military stance by ALL governments can create peace – look at the calamities in this disastrous country!!
    I’ll arrive from Hong Kong on the l6th of February, so please do let me know how and where to find you. Will Fumi be with you, or Dieter?
    Tomorrow I’ll be able to give you more details, I am flying back from Kathmandu on February 23, my first visit. Am very excited, also to meet Bishnu Pathak whom Marilyn met and deeply respects.
    Much love and eternal admiration,
    Ingrid
    (PS: spent last evening with Marilyn Langlois and heard Dennis Kucinich and Dan Ellsberg with Barbara Lee on the nuclear trauma at a large gathering in Oakland)

  4. Dear Bishnu ji, Namaskar,
    Thank you very much for your email.
    This article may be published in upcoming edition of The Nepali Times Australia.
    Hence kindly provide us your recent photo which goes with your article as writer.
    It also would be nice if you could send a us a update after the Peace event concluded on 18th of February.
    Look forward to hear from you.

  5. Dear Dr. Ingrid Kepler-May;
    Welcome in Nepal

    Thank you so much for your kind information. When you arrived, please give me a call +977 9841 345514. You shall also write email at pathakbishnu@gmail.com. Yes, I am assisting Prof. Dr. Johan Faltung and Prof. Fumi is also with him, staying at Hotel Soaltee. We shall manage time to have a meeting both of you. However, they are returning back on February 18.

    Please let we know if we can be of any assistance.

    Thanking you.

    Peace
    Bishnu

  6. Global Teacher says:

    Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung could be the deception against real peace effort, Europeans have been
    because they are the main cause of violence around the world using their covert military and
    divisive politics! Anything from Switzerland is for colonization like Israel which was conceived
    from Switzerland like Zionism to colonize the world including Arab, Asia and Africa! Truth is the
    foundation for real peace effort!

    • Global teacher man, you exude ignorance through all your pores, not only your writing. Go get an education before criticizing that which you have no clue. What an ignorant comment. Please shut up!

      I keep your post just to make a point. Have at least the decency to give your real name and not act like a coward. OK, enough time wasted on this.

  7. Hechmi Ferjani says:

    Many thanks brother,
    hopefully J. Gatung’s visit will help to provide the climate of dialogue Nepal is in deer need for.
    Please keep us updated as to the visit and its results; as Nepal is an example which could pave the way to other countries, living similar situations.
    With very kind regards.

  8. By this email we do not see if Prof Galtung is coming to Nepal. If he is, on what dates? Is he giving any talks anywhere?
    Would be grateful to know.
    Best,

  9. satoshi says:

    Let me celebrate: May the peace event this time with Prof. Galtung in Nepal be successful. May peace be with all Nepalese. (I worked with many Nepalese for peace. I miss many Nepalese friends and food.)

  10. Daniel E. Moody says:

    Thank you for this.
    We are praying for this and very excited about this event.
    As I think of Nepal, and God willing, hope to visit sometime,
    you have the most awe inspiring high peak on the planet.
    This can stand as a symbol of the high road of peace and diplomacy
    and the step you are taking is globally significant.

    I tried to post this link on my website but it is under construction

    Blessings,

    • Thank you so much for your very lovely words, kindness, spontaneous cooperation for harmony, and peace-loving encouragement. Nepal feels proud of his presence on this critical time in Nepal. We will receive a lot of political changes for the sake of general elections transcending conflict very soon.

      Thank you again.

      Peace
      Bishnu

  11. Dan Moody says:

    Greetings
    I just read through the emails
    and I would add this comment

    At one time or other any given nation has done things that have hurt others. That will continue to happen as in the heart of any man is the capacity to do evil. At the same time there is in the depth and core of the human heart,
    an ability that transcends, nations, transcends political boundaries, transcends religion and class status – the ability to love, to care for and to address the needs of our fellow human being. It is that noble effort that must be lifted up as a lighthouse, a beacon, a new standard that has to be set if our children and grandchildren are to inherit a safer, saner world.
    Blessings, Dan Moody

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