Johan Galtung’s Acceptance Speech of the People’s Nobel in Sweden

EDITORIAL, 11 Dec 2017

#512 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

2 Dec 2017 – The People’s Peace Prize According to Nobel’s Will
Celebration-Seminar-Banquet, Orust Peace Movement at Svanvik, Sweden

Most gratefully received: a beautifully engraved granite stone that will adorn our garden in Spain, and a wonderful diploma!

I am deeply moved, with a feeling that my long life dedicated to the theory and practice of peace, particularly since 1958, 50 years ago, has arrived, has been understood, and has been appreciated.

The “Nobel Peace Prize” administered by Norway is fake. Far from Nobel’s will inspired by Bertha von Suttner’s Nie mehr Krieg as a prize for reducing standing armies, understanding among nations, and peace conferences, to a prize compatible with US-Norwegian policies.  The 2017 prize to ICAN was a felicitous exception to that rule.

The Norway to which Nobel bestowed the honor of awarding the prize was part of Sweden-Norway dedicated to the Marshal Bernadotte – King Karl Johan policy of neutrality, from 1835. Today’s Norway is member of an anti-Russian NATO alliance headed by the most belligerent state in world history that even surpassed the Roman Empire in early 1990s. With 248 US military interventions since Libya in 1801, and more than 20 million killed in 37 countries since 1945.  Norway never protested.

In 1949 Norway should have understood that a membership in a US-led military alliance and the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize are mutually exclusive. The honor of awarding that prestigious prize should have reverted to neutral Sweden.  But Oslo wanted prestige and alliance. Northern Norway, with a 240 Km Russian border and 1,000 years of peace, knew better.

NATO changed from defensive, with Art. 5 proclaiming that attack on one member is an attack on all and became de facto offensive, with attack by one member being an attack by all; on Afghanistan, on Iraq… A belligerent Norwegian prime minister became Secretary General of anti-Russian NATO, demanding bigger standing armies. This reduces the credibility of a prize awarded by official, not private, Norway, for peace policies the country itself evidently does not believe in.

A Life with Peace Issues.  Yes, that is the story as a child of peace movements like War Resisters’ International. Six life points:

  1. War-occupation-father in concentration camp-sisters refugees Sweden
  2. The light from Gandhi, crying at 17-year-old when he was shot 30 Jan 1948
  3. The calling in Helsinki 1951 to develop non-existing peace studies
  4. Starting from scratch with health from my medical family as model
  5. Developing theory and practice, diagnosis, prognosis and therapy
  6. Being empirical and pragmatic, not ideological and dogmatic

Early on six wrong approaches to peace were identified; they may be necessary or helpful, but certainly not sufficient:

  1. Disarmament: they rearm seeing no alternatives; distargeting better
  2. Nonviolence: good slogan but like Gandhi did has to be made positive
  3. Peace Movement: peace not by meetings-resolutions-demonstrations
  4. Governments: security; not by threats, offensive arms and arms races
  5. Uni- or bi-polar worlds: Hegemonic, dangerous; multipolar better
  6. World Government: civilizations different; United Regions better

Dissatisfaction with theory and practice led over years to the Transcend Method, an evolving approach to peace, now characterized by:

  1. Karma Years: years when underlying contradictions were shaped
  2. Conflict: incompatible goals; made compatible by changing reality
  3. Violence: direct and indirect (structural), two underlying causes: unsolved conflict, unconciled trauma (wounds from past violence)
  4. Peace: negative, solving-conciling; positive, building good relations
  5. Mediation: dialogues, for mapping-legitimizing-bridging conflicts
  6. Vision: linking good with good, with optimism based on track record

Formulas for Peace. Yes, I think there is a Six Elements Formula, and more particularly one that reads as follows:

As shaped by DEEP CULTURE and DEEP STRUCTURE.  To spell it out:

  1. Equity: cooperation for mutual and equal benefit
  2. Empathy: ability to see and feel reality as Other does
  3. Conflict: mutually exclusive goals in present empirical reality
  4. Trauma: wounds from past violence due to conflict and-or trauma
  5. Deep culture: reality as in individual and collective subconscious
  6. Deep structure: patterned interaction, empirical or potential

The formula specifies four jobs to be done, with two constraints.  Conflicts are ingested, digested, for negative peace (denominator) and positive peace (numerator), energizing individual and social bodies. Violence is forgotten, as relic of the past like feudalism. Excreted.

However, the proof of a pudding is in the eating, and there are many “puddings” around.  Here are Six Recent Cases, with visions:

  1. Africa: multi-nation federations multi-state communities for nations
  2. China Sea Islands: Joint property Income split 40-40-20 (ecology)
  3. Catalunya: not independent but with high level autonomy financially
  4. Syria: decolonization-westernization Muslim power to the imams
  5. USA/N Korea: Peace Treaty Normalization  Nuclear-free Peninsula
  6. China/Japan: Share narratives Share islands East Asian Community

And here are Six Current Cases in the light of their Karma Years:

  1. West/Russia: One United Christianity – A European House 395
  2. West/Ukraine/Russia: Ukraine independent-neutral-federal 395
  3. USA/World: Enlightened, not divine Normal Part of MEXUSCAN 1620
  4. Afghanistan: Eliminate Durand line – Central Asian Community 1893
  5. Palestine-Israel: 1-2-6-20 Israel as millet Kitab community 1898
  6. United Regions: China EU ELAC Africa Islam SAARC ASEAN 1912 1958

Being a Norwegian please permit me Six Wishes for Norway:

  1. Peace Nation: good at handling conflicts at all levels also marriage
  2. Peace State: negative and positive peace with all, practicing Nobel
  3. Freedom: liberated from US occupation, US bases, US foreign policy
  4. Defensive defense: coastal artillery militia less vulnerable Gandhi
  5. Spirit of Independence: no EU successor to DK, S, GB, USA: Norway!
  6. Spirit of Human Property: EEZs, ocean and under, islands, sector

Peace Banquet and the Prize. The Six Dishes, with tea-coffee, included grilled eco-chicken and mango-tango. Delicious.

Why so many Six’es?
Maybe because 6 is a beautiful, well rounded number?
Not a dagger like 1, 4, 7, 9?
6 – Six – a peace number.
Like 3 (Christianity).
And like 8 (Buddhism & Hinduism).
Deep thanks, Ola.  Deep thanks, Erni.  You are what you preach!
Deep thanks Orust Peace Movement.
Deep thanks to the many volunteers who made it all possible.
Deep thanks to our sense of a community embracing us all.
For peace not only as a vision but inside us, among us.
And deep thanks Orust Nature for accommodating us so beautifully.

Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. Prof. Galtung has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters, 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and more than 170 books on peace and related issues, of which more than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at

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7 Responses to “Johan Galtung’s Acceptance Speech of the People’s Nobel in Sweden”

  1. Many congratulations for this well deserved award for serving humanity.

  2. Dear Johan,

    Marvellous speech and a very well deserved Prize. CONGRATULATIONS !!!!

    I have a question: you say “Governments: security; not by threats, offensive arms and arms races”. My question is: how can politicians avoid “offensive arms”, when it is perfectly legal for people to manufacture and sell them? and how can you avoid “arms races”, when it is perfectly legal for military companies to manufacture the same product and enter into competition against their rival manufacturers?

    How can arms be NON-offensive? arms manufacured for armies are manufactured for killing. Even if a soldier dies before he was able to use the weapon in his hand, this weapon will eventually become offensive in the hands of a luckier soldier.

    To me, no matter from which perspective I look at the world, I cannot see a solution whilst we go on developing, manufacturing and selling weapons; whilst we continue to tell countries they must have Armed Forces for security. An open lie. If weapons were a deterrent, we’d give children a weapon each, to guarantee they never fight.

    With regards to the last Nobel Peace Prize, you say “The 2017 prize to ICAN was a felicitous exception to that rule.” but I was disappointed and said: “yes, because Nuclearism is what made our world so insecure, threatening and violent. Because of the anti-nuclear movement, we’ve had the Korean war, Vietnam, Cambodia, Kashimir, Angola, etc, etc. The anti-nuclear movement allowed conventional weapons to develop to such sophistiocated levels, nuclear weapons became almost obsolete, redundant.” World war-mongers military manufacturers are very thankful to the anti-nuclear movement’.

    Police only should be armed, foe security in society, when they need to stop a thief, burglar, rapist, murderer, etc. Armed Forces should NOT exist, unless we close down all military manufacturing plants and stop selling to those Armed Forces our arms, tanks, rockets, Apaches, grenades, machine guns, torpedoes, warships, etc.

    Happy Holiday Season !!!


  3. Gary Corseri. says:

    Antonio, et. al.–

    Dear Antonio, et. al.–

    I’m always proud to have my work at the TMS Weekly Digest; but especially in this issue, celebrating Johan’s recent triumph in Sweden. Johan teaches us once again–as he so often has–perseverance in a just cause can help us all, can enlighten all….

    Gary Corseri

  4. Dear Johan

    CONGRATULATIONS ! on the Non-Nobel Peace Prize.

    Well deserved and long over-due.

    I entirely agree with you about the Nobel: since Kissinger, the Norwegian Nobel Committee severely diminished the prestige and the value of the prize. Sometimes (ICAN, Landmines) the prize has been given deservedly. Too often it is a political caricature that has little to do with peace.

    The PEOPLE’s PRIZE is much better and more valuable, than a prize from the corrupted elite.

    This is a fine way to celebrate 50 years of peacemaking.

    I have read your speech with great interest, as I always read your Editorial. I do not always understand your enigmatic sentences, and I am sure it is because I lack your depth of culture and wisdom. Gandhi is a man, I confess, whose legacy leaves me conflicted … especially now that Hindu nationalists are in power in India. I wonder if he was not too “Hindu” to be a real federator of India’s multiple peoples.

    On Syria, I am confused. Lebanon confuses me too, but I think it confuses the Lebanese even more. There are differences between peoples (probably between tribes) that were held together by the Ottoman Empire and in Syria, over the past 30+ years, they were held together by the minority Alawite regime. The Wahhabists set out not just to destroy the regime, but to carry out a genocide of the Alawites and to eliminate the ancient Christian and other (Yazidi, Assyrian etc) civilizations or remnants. I do not see it as a battle between Saudi and Iran, by the way, more a battle for control of Sunni Islam fought by proxies of Turkey and Qatar to neutralize the Saudis.

    So I am not sure what to make of your enigmatic comment ”Syria: decolonization-westernization Muslim power to the imams.”

    With very best wishes to you, and may you live long to enjoy the prestige of your new People’s Peace Prize !

    With kind regards


    Ask your local library to order a copy of this book for you:

    Poulton, Robin Edward and Rafaella Greco Tonegutti. The Limits of Democracy and the Postcolonial Nation State: Mali’s democratic experiment falters, while jihad and terrorism grow in the Sahara. Lewiston NY & Lampeter, UK: Mellen Press, October 2016.

  5. Arthur P. Oliveira F. says:

    Dear Yohan
    I shall never forget you , my Prof. at the
    International Peace Academy Seminar ,
    in Saastopankiopisto , Finland, 1971 .
    I my self , Hilkka Pietila and all those
    who had the privilege of knowing you , are
    now celebrating the PRIZE you
    allways DESERVED !!!
    Congratulations !

  6. Akifumi Fujita says:

    Dear Galtung-sensei,
    Congratulations on this well-deserved award!
    Yes, the “Nobel Peace Prize” is fake. And you also say that the 2017 prize for ICAN is a felicitous exception to that rule. To tell the truth, I was rather skeptical about the latter. But my perspective on this has a little bit changed after listening to Ms. Setsuko Thurlow’s acceptance speech. I was very much moved. It was historical indeed. A hibakusha stood up from ruin and spoke out to the world her experience in precise and exact English. There was truth in it. Her life was condensed in her speech. I even think that her speech is likely to change the attitude of Nobel Peace Committee. (Optimistic?)
    As Alberto points out that there is a dilemma between anti-nuclear movement and development of conventional weapons in quantity and quality. This is a big problem for us Japanese because the present Japanese government is changing A9 of the Japanese Constitution which expresses renunciation of war. And we are confronting at this moment how to resist against it by peaceful means. The problem is war itself.
    And in this context I recall a phrase in Russell-Einstein Manifesto (1955)”Remember your humanity and forget the rest.” I think war is included in the “rest” as the most important element.
    In my understanding, war is a violence. And Johan Galtung’s Theory of Peace shows that violence is avoidable:
    It must and can be avoided, and forgotten. I am sure there is much to learn from his theory in this respect. Many thanks for proposing it.
    With best regards,
    Akifumi Fujita

  7. Zeki Ergas says:

    war will be abolished only when a world government will be established. Not before.