A Tribute to Prof. Johan Galtung’s 85th Birthday


Erika Degortes and Naakow Grant-Hayford – TRANSCEND Media Service

Litteraturhuset, Oslo – 25 Oct 2015

Prof. Johan Galtung

Prof. Johan Galtung

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We would like to thank very much our friends and colleagues from TRANSCEND Nordic and the SABONA-I see you Program for organizing such an incredible gathering to honor the founder of Peace Studies and our friend and teacher, Johan Galtung.

We also came here today to represent the Galtung-Institut for Peace Theory and Peace Practice and TRANSCEND International‘s members, who are in droves sending their birthday wishes. The list of countries from which we bring greetings is too long to be listed entirely. We are 520 members in 80 Countries. Among these, there are two who we would like to mention: our friends and colleagues Susan Wardak and Seddiq Weera, strategic advisers to the Ministry of Education in Afghanistan.

While sending their birthday wishes, they reminded us that in the beginning of 2001 in Peshawar Johan gave an interview to the BBC about Afghanistan and stated that the USA was going to establish military bases in specific sites inside the country. Needless to say, the following US led military intervention in Afghanistan proved the prediction true. Since then, very many in Afghanistan call Johan Galtung a “magician”. What he does, however, is everything but magic: it is called research in social science!

Johan Galtung proves everyday of his life how strong intellectual self-discipline and 60 years of professional dedication to translevel conflict transformation combined with a holistic, humanistic and “both-and” approach in solution-seeking, can lead us to understanding social reality and enable us to lead human interaction from conflict to conviviality through empathy, nonviolent and creative means – in one word, to Peace.

We are here not to offer you a gift dear Johan, but to celebrate the gift you have given to all those interested in bringing about peace as a sociological and as a political responsibility in our multipolar and multicultural world. The gift you gave us is a formula with four tasks to be carried out (and herein lies the art of peace) synchronically:

  • Increase harmony between humans through empathy;
  • increase equity in human patterns of interaction through cooperation for mutual and equal benefits;
  • reduce and heal traumas, wounds of the past to mind, body and spirit, through conflict conciliation;
  • reduce and dissolve social, political, economic and cultural contradictions through conflict transformation and mediation.

We would like to extend our deep gratitude to you, dear Johan, for applying this TRANSCEND Method in numerous cases at the highest levels, for teaching thousands this practice of mediation and also the way to teach it to others. And you keep on keeping on, together with distinguished scholars and practitioners members of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment, at the age of 85, in this digital age, extending your knowledge through our online TRANSCEND Peace University.

And this ladies and gentlemen, after 60 rich and successful years, is just the beginning.

Happy 85th birthday dear Johan!

Erika Degortes for TRANSCEND Italy & Galtung-Institut

Naakow Grant-Hayford for TRANSCEND Ghana & Galtung-Institut

Erika DegortesNaakow


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 26 Oct 2015.

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