A Condolence Message on the Passing of Prof. Johan Galtung

JOHAN GALTUNG MEMORIAL, 26 Feb 2024

Dr. Surya Nath Prasad – TRANSCEND Media Service

I shocked to hear the news about the demise of Prof. Johan Galtung on 17 Feb 2024 at the age of 93 in Oslo, Norway. He was born on 24 Oct 1930.

Prof. Galtung was a principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies. He was the main founder of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) in 1959 and served as its first director until 1970. He also founded the Peace Research Journal (1964), Transcend International, Transcend Media Service, and Transcend Peace University.

Prof. Johan Galtung was an intellectual giant in the field of peace studies.  He was author and co-author of more than 170 books on peace and related issues, 96 as sole author. More than 40 have been translated to other languages. He has published 1700 articles and book chapters and wrote over 500 weekly editorials for Transcend Media Service.

Prof. Galtung was recipient of several honorary doctorates and professorships  from different universities, and prestigious Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Peace Prize). Norwegian Nobel Peace Committee missed a highly deserving nominee Prof. Johan Galtung, though he was nominated several times for this prestigious award in the field of peace. Prof. Galtung mediated in over 150 conflicts in more than 150 countries. Prof. Galtung remained till his end of life committed to the study and promotion of perpetual sustainable peace. Prof. Galtung has contributed in all the three areas of peace, viz. peace ideas, peace studies  and peace activities, which meet the Nobel’s Will. According to the Nobel’s Will, the Peace Prize  shall be awarded to the person who  in the preceding year “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. The members of the Nobel Peace Committee are supposed to strictly follow the Nobel’s Will and adhere to the criteria of his Will.

But the Nobel Peace Committee has been failed to understand to select many deserving nominees for Nobel Peace Prize in the past, and the members of the Committee did not keep in their minds the Nobel’s Will while they were choosing the nominees for the award. The grandson of one of Nobel’s two brothers, Michael Nobel also criticized, and said that the Nobel Committee has not always acted in accordance with Nobel’s Will (Nobel, Michael, 9 December, 2011). “I  strid med Nobels vilje”. Aftenosten (in Norwegian)  Oslo, Norway. Retrieved 12 December, 2011. Here is pertinent to note that Prof. Galtung never did the work for  peace for any honor or award, but he did this, because peace for all was his mission for  his life.

Prof. Johan Galtung was one of my best friends. When I recall my memory, I remember that my association with Prof. Johan Galtung was in the year 1974 when I was planning to launch the publication of Peace Education: An International Journal in 1975 on the eve of  UN International Year of Women on the theme of the Role of Women in Peace Education, and constituting the  Editorial Board of the Journal by selecting its members. I requested Prof. Galtung to be a Member of its Editorial Board and he accepted my request.

On my request, Prof. Galtung contributed his articles time to time for publication in our Journal. In 1986, I requested him to send an  article for the Special Issue of Peace Education: An International Journal in the UN Year of Peace in 1986, and he sent me his article on the theme: “How to Succeed in Peace Education Without Really Trying”.

Once I requested him to write his Editorial for  our Journal, he advised me to use his any Editorial published in Transcend Media Service suited to the theme of the issue of our Journal.

In 2002, when I completed editing of the  book: Science, Religion and Peace with Dr. Suman Shukla, then Associate Professor of  Education, Nagpur University, India, and Associate Editor, Peace Education: An International Journal, I requested Prof. Johan Galtung to write his Foreword for the, and he accepted my request and wrote his Foreword for our book. Inter alia, Prof. Johan Galtung wrote: “Not by chance was  it compiled by the indefatigable Dr. Surya Nath Prasad, himself a testimony to the Indian tradition of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” (the world is my family). And he concluded his Foreword for this book  with his advices as “Personally I would stress all of the factors mentioned. Peace is so multi-faceted. We need all the insights we can get. And we need the creativity to combine the incompatible!”

Sometimes, I commented on the editorials, articles and videos of Prof. Johan Galtung. My recent Comments on 15 February 2024 on his Editorial on the theme: Spirituality and Conflict Work published in Transcend Media Service on 12 February 2024.

I feel deeply aggrieved due to the demise of Prof. Johan  Galtung, a true friend, philosopher, guide, and also the role model for many peace workers.

Though in the sequence, the death of Prof. Johan Galtung is the fifth whom, the Editorial Board of Peace Education Journal is missing him a lot. Other members of the Board, whom we are missing, are Dr. Young Seek Choue, who died on  18 Feb. 2018 at the age of 87 years, Dr. Charles Mercieca, who died on 10 July 2022 at the age of 89 years, Mr. Benjamin B. Ferencz, who died on 4 April 2023 at the age of 103 years, and Dr. Betty A. Reardon, who died on 3 Nov.2023 at the age of 94 years.

I personally, and on behalf of the Editorial Board of Peace Education Journal pray to the Almighty God to grant peace to the departed eternal soul of Prof. Johan Galtung, and courage to his beloved family members, and his followers to bear the irreparable loss.

_______________________________________________

Dr. Surya Nath Prasad, Former President, Executive Vice President & Secretary-General of the International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP); associate professor of education emeritus, the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea. Founder and editor-in-chief of Peace Education: An International Journal. dr_suryanathprasad@yahoo.co.in


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 26 Feb 2024.

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