Johan Galtung and Dennis Kucinich Discuss the Proposal for a Department of Peace


Paul Jay | The Real News Network – TRANSCEND Media Service

The Fall of the US Empire – And Then What?

Congressman Dennish Kucinich elected mayor of Cleveland at the age of 31 in 1977, is the youngest person ever elected to head a major US city. Previously, Kucinich served on the Cleveland City Council. He won his Congress seat in 1996 and while there has authored or co-sponsored bills related to the health care system, Social Security, education and calling for the abolition of the death penalty. Kucinich has also called for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act and for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. He is a former presidential candidate, and was reelected into a seventh term in Congress, representing the 10th District of Ohio.

Professor Johan Galtung, considered the father of Peace Studies, is the founder and director of TRANSCEND International, a nonprofit network for Mediation and Conflict Resolution by nonviolent means. The network was founded in 1993. He has mediated in over 100 conflicts between and within states, communities, groups and persons for over 50 years. TRANSCEND connects over 400 experts in peace, mediation and reconciliation work. He currently teaches at the World Peace Academy at the University of Basel, among others. He has written over 140 books encompassing 25 intellectual landscapes.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 11 Feb 2019.

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6 Responses to “Johan Galtung and Dennis Kucinich Discuss the Proposal for a Department of Peace”

  1. rosemerry says:

    If only! The USA seems not to regard human relations, or even humans at all, as important unless they are rich, white americans or of course, “corporate persons”. Listening to and trying tounderstand other points of view is essential for any chance of peace/cooperation/harmony.

  2. Gary Corseri says:

    It’s a good interview…as far as it goes. Unfortunately, it’s little more than a “teaser” here–just 9.5 minutes. Apparently there’s more to it, and I’ll look for it. I’ll also hope that more of it will appear at TMS in the future.

    Both Dennis Kucinich and Johan Galtung make good opening arguments for the need for a Department of Peace. Johan mentions the “hard” and “gentle” versions of religion (noting the two sides of humans); and Kucinich mentions “The Big Lie”–that we’re not capable of peace! Educator and peace-negotiator Johan cites examples from his own experience to give the lie to that “Big Lie”!

    There are allusions to the waste of it all: the 100,000,000 humans killed in the 20th century. The titanic waste of natural and monetary resources. There is discussion about the need for a “science of human relations.”

    I disagree with what “rosemerry” writes here:

    “The USA seems not to regard human relations, or even humans at all, as important unless they are rich, white americans.”

    The molding of “human relations” has been of paramount importance since Freud’s nephew, Bernays, propounded his ideas about “public relations” and propaganda over a century ago. The problem is not that “no regard” is paid to “human relations,” but that we have such a simplistic approach to the matter.

    In this era of Mass Media and Social Media, credentialed and bona fide journalism, editing, criticism and editorializing are deprecated values.

    “Rich, white americans” is just another divisive term–even a race-baiting term. There are plenty of powerful Blacks, and rich folks of all races–Semitic, Asian, Latin American, etc.–who support imperialistic wars. Have we already forgotten General Colin Powell wagging his test-tube of sugar at the U.N., inciting fear that that much arsenic could poison the water supply of New York City…thus justifying our approaching War on Iraq, the loss of hundreds of thousands and the devastation of our former “ally”?

    How do we rise above the rhetoric? How to teach History and Evolution so that the subjects amount to more than mere tropes on the theme of “survival of the fittest”? How to nurture the minds and hearts of humans to face the challenges of A.I., Global Climate Change, Overpopulation, inordinate discrepancies of wealth and power? A Department of Peace, invigorated with torch-bearers like Kucinich and Galtung, could help to light the way.

    • Dear Gary, tks for your thoughtful comments and positive participation–as usual. Also to Rosemerry.

      Unfortunately the rest of the interview for some reason was not uploaded to YouTube and therefore I cannot post on TMS. Videos must be on Vimeo or YouTube to be uploaded here, sometimes from Facebook.

      Anyway, this is the only video on the Real News Network website–no follow up. FYI

      Take care.

  3. Gary Corseri says:

    Thanks for your follow-up, Antonio.

    It really is a good beginning–that first part of the video you posted here. I’ve been a fan of Johan’s for a few years now; wasn’t sure about Dennis Kucinich when he was running against a long-time hero of mine, Ralph Nader. But, in this latest peace endeavor, I certainly cheer him on and am grateful for his strong advocacy.

    Thanks for all that you do, too!


  4. Peter van den Dungen says:

    I have been a long-time admirer of both Johan Galtung and Dennis Kucinich.
    The proposal for a Department of Peace is an eminently sensible one that was first proposed by the prominent Philadelphian physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush in his essay ‘A plan of a Peace-Office for the United States’ published in 1793. He had acquired first-hand experience of the reality of war when serving as an army surgeon in 1776. Rush regarded war as a calamity that resulted in many evils and believed that making people aware of them was tantamount to educating them for peace. He therefore suggested, additionally, that a sign be placed over the door of the War Office bearing the following inscription:

    1. An office for butchering the human species.
    2. A widow and orphan making office.
    3. A broken bone making office.
    4. A wooden leg making office.
    5. An office for creating public and private vices.
    6. An office for creating a public debt.
    7. An office for creating speculators, stock jobbers & bankrupts.
    8. An office for creating famines.
    9. An office for creating pestilential diseases.
    10. An office for creating poverty and the destruction of liberty & national happiness.
    In the intervening two hundred years, many more calamities and evils can be added to Rush’s already formidable and unanswerable indictment of what today is the Pentagon (and its equivalents abroad).

    Not satisfied with a purely verbal indictment of war, evocative though it was, he further proposed that in the lobby of the War Office there would be displayed ‘painted representations of all the common military instruments of death; also human skulls, broken bones, unburied and putrefying dead bodies, hospitals crowded with sick and wounded soldiers, villages on fire, mothers in besieged towns, eating the flesh of their children, ships sinking in the ocean, rivers dyed with blood, and extensive plains without tree or fence, or any other object but the ruins of deserted farm houses. Above all this group of woeful figures, let the following words be inserted in red characters, to represent human blood: NATIONAL GLORY.’

    Today, more than ever, all countries – starting with the US – are in need of implementing Rush’s proposals for the establishment of a Department of Peace (as part of central government), and the creation of anti-war and peace museums. The US and UK have hundreds of war and military museums; many are large and officially funded. They do not provide the education that Benjamin Rush was pleading for. Peace and anti-war museums are conspicuous by their absence. Where are today’s peace philanthropists following in the footsteps of Andrew Carnegie?


    Did you know that legislation was just reintroduced in U.S. Congress by Rep Barbara Lee (Ca-13) on 2/8/19 to establish a cabinet-level Department of Peacebuilding?

    We at the long-enduring “Peace Alliance” Department of Peacebuilding campaign urgently need grassroots folks across the country to join us by advocating that your Representative cosponsor this bill now. Our escalating culture of violence cries out for a whole new system of governance devoted to building a culture of peace. This evidence-based bill would make “nonviolence” a national organizing principle, giving “peace” an institutional framework and platform in our government. Now is the time to build the political will to make it finally happen.

    I have been active in the U.S. Department of Peacebuilding campaign over a decade now advocating for this bill that has been in all Congressional sessions since Rep Kucinich first introduced it in 2001!! Also as a UN NGO Representative, I have been involved with the international Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace (“I4P”) movement.

    Please join us lobbying governments (especially U.S.) to create governmental I4P such as Departments of Peace. Contact me at or for more information on how to get involved in the U.S. campaign.

    Text of the Department of Peacebuilding Act of 2019:

    How you can help advocate for this bill:

    Background info on the long-enduring Department of Peacebuilding campaign: