Memorial Prof. Johan Galtung (24 Oct 1930 – 17 Feb 2024) RIP

EDITORIAL, 19 Feb 2024

#836 | Antonio C. S. Rosa | Editor - TRANSCEND Media Service

[We at TMS acknowledge and thank the exceptional number of messages of condolences received from all over the world. We are deeply moved. Being practically impossible to reply individually to all, next week we shall publish a few texts submitted In Memoriam.]


19 Feb 2024 – Johan wrote the inaugural TMS editorial on 3 Mar 2008, when our pioneer Solutions-Oriented Peace Journalism website was launched. Thus, TMS’ 16th anniversary will be celebrated exactly two weeks from today. Johan passed away in Oslo, Norway on Sat 17 Feb 2024 at 8 a.m. He was 93. RIP dear friend and mentor. We last talked on the phone in Oct 2023 when he was in Alicante, Spain.

The theme of that first editorial was Fidel Castro (50 Years of Fidel). He would write at least 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service until 2017, when he retired.

Prof. Johan Galtung receives Doctor Honoris Causa from the Complutense University of Madrid, 27 Jan 2017

Johan Vincent Galtung, Ph.D. dr hc mult, a professor and researcher on peace studies, was born in Oslo, Norway on the same day that the UN would come to existence 15 years later. He was a mathematician–his first Ph.D.–, sociologist, political scientist and the founder of the academic disciplines of Peace and Conflict Studies. He founded the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (1959), the world’s first academic research center focused on peace studies, as well as the influential Journal of Peace Research (1964). He has helped found dozens of other peace centers around the world since.

He has served as a professor for peace studies at universities all over the world, including Columbia (New York), Oslo, Berlin, Belgrade, Paris, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Sichuan, Ritsumeikan (Japan), Princeton, Hawai’i, Tromsoe, Bern, Alicante (Spain), Islamic University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, and dozens of others on all continents. He has taught thousands of individuals and inspired them to dedicate their lives to the promotion of peace and the satisfaction of basic human needs.

He mediated in over 150 conflicts between states, nations, religions, civilizations, communities, and persons since 1957. His contributions to peace theory and practice include conceptualization of peace-building, conflict mediation/transformation, reconciliation, nonviolence, theory of structural violence, theorizing about negative vs. positive peace, peace education and peace journalism. Prof. Galtung’s unique imprint on the study of conflict and peace stems from a combination of systematic scientific inquiry and a Gandhian ethics of peaceful means and harmony. His/our TRANSCEND motto: Peace by Peaceful Means.

Johan Galtung, wife Fumiko, Antonio Rosa (back), and faculty members at University of Coimbra, Portugal, 2017

“I have never been an advocate of world-saving narratives. The point about my work is to identify the neuralgic, specific contradiction in a specific place in space and at a specific moment in time and dissolve the contradiction with conflict transformation in order to prevent an escalation of whatever social contradiction one is dealing with into violence, whether direct or structural. To ask me whether I want to save the world is to have understood nothing about how conflict transformation works in practice. It’s like suggesting that a brain surgeon would want to extract a patient’s entire brain instead of working on the specific complication identified and localized in a specific region of the cerebral cortex. No, that is no way to proceed. One identifies concrete underlying contradictions in the social system at hand, then one identifies the causes, its drivers, and strives to undo the harm and hurt that could result from it by nonviolent means. I am not concerned with saving the world – I am concerned with finding solutions to specific conflicts before they become violent.” — Johan Galtung

Galtung was jailed in Norway for six months at age 24 as a Conscientious Objector to serving in the military, after having done 12 months of civilian service, the same time as those doing military service. He agreed to serve an extra 6 months if he could work for peace, but that was refused. In jail he wrote his first book, Gandhi’s Political Ethics, together with his mentor, Arne Næss. This event would trigger a lifetime work for peace: 170 books, plus.

Johan Galtung Park ‘por la Paz’ in Alfaz del Pi, Benidorm, Spain



The Galtung/TRANSCEND Conflict Diagram

He founded in 1993 TRANSCEND International, a global nonprofit network for Peace, Development and the Environment, with over 500 members in more than 70 countries around the world. In 2000, the TRANSCEND Peace University was launched, the world’s first online Peace Studies University. As a testimony to his legacy, peace studies are now taught and researched at universities across the globe and contribute to peacemaking efforts in conflicts around the world. In 2008, he founded the TRANSCEND University Press.


Galtung’s Peace Formulas

Johan Galtung has conducted a great deal of research in many fields and made original contributions not only to peace studies but also, among others, human rights, basic needs, development strategies, a world economy that sustains life, macro-history, theory of civilizations, federalism, globalization, theory of discourse, social pathologies, deep culture, peace and religions, social science methodology, sociology, ecology, future studies.

As a recipient of over a dozen honorary doctorates and professorships and many other distinctions, including a Right Livelihood Award (also known as Alternative Nobel Peace Prize), Johan Galtung remained committed all his life to the study and promotion of peace.

The Right Livelihood Award ceremony 1987. Johan Galtung is 3rd from right.

Galtung has mediated in over 150 conflicts in more than 150 countries, and written more than 170 books on peace and related issues, 96 as the only author. More than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. Transcend and Transform was translated to 25 languages. He has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters and over 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at


Antonio C. S. Rosa (at the right of Johan Galtung in this photo), born 1946, is founder-editor of the pioneering Peace Journalism website, TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS (from 2008) under Galtung’s inspiration and guidance. He is Johan’s assistant, Secretary of the International Board of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, and recipient of the Psychologists for Social Responsibility’s 2017 Anthony J. Marsella Prize for the Psychology of Peace and Social Justice. He completed the required coursework for a Ph.D. in Political Science-Peace Studies (1994), has a Masters in Political Science-International Relations (1990), and a B.A. in Communication (1988) from the University of Hawai’i. Originally from Brazil, he lives presently in Porto, Portugal. Antonio was educated in the USA where he lived for 20 years; in Europe-India since 1994. Books: Peace Journalism: 80 Galtung Editorials on War and Peace (editor)Cobertura de Conflitos: Jornalismo para a Paz (from Johan Galtung, translation to Portuguese)Transcender e Transformar: Uma Introdução ao Trabalho de Conflitos (from Johan Galtung, translation to Portuguese). TMS articles by Rosa HERE.


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 19 Feb 2024.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Memorial Prof. Johan Galtung (24 Oct 1930 – 17 Feb 2024) RIP, is included. Thank you.

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9 Responses to “Memorial Prof. Johan Galtung (24 Oct 1930 – 17 Feb 2024) RIP”

  1. Per-Stian says:

    I am still very sad and grieving about the loss of our dear Johan. I wasn’t fortunate enough to know him personally of course, but still kinda felt like it from brief interactions here and there up through the years.

    Lost for words really, and see what he wrote above about “saving the world”. Still, it feels like a gruesome loss for us all, because people like that “don’t grow on trees”. And right now even the trees are bombed in Gaza and elsewhere in the region. I’m sure he would have had a thing or three to say about that.

    My thoughts are with his loved ones, and of his friends and colleagues who truly knew him on a personal level. Your loss must be incalculable.

    Rest in peace, Johan. Now it is up to the rest of us to achieve peace on this little planet of ours.


  2. Daisuke Nojima says:

    Johan sensei brought us many roads of alternatives and transformations toward realization of a peaceful world. Please rest, and live among us forever.

  3. Margarita Megally Cassar says:

    I am so saddened to read of Dr Galtung’s passing away.
    The world has lost a great good man and a giant in peace-making.
    May he rest in peace.
    May his love for the world, his insights, teachings, compassion, mediation skills and wisdom guide us all for a better life at all levels of society.
    Condolences to his wife and family.

    Margarita Megally Cassar

  4. Kees van der Veer says:

    The founder of Peace Research, my inspiring teacher, mentor, promotor, colleague and dear friend Professor Johan Galtung, died on February 17, 2024. I met him for the first time in Oslo when I was a young research fellow at PRIO. We spoke each other 2 weeks ago the last time. I am sad.
    May he rest in peace. ❤️

  5. Eva Tennfjord says:

    Dear Antonio, dear friends og Johan Galtung, dear you, his wife.
    I just wish to give my respectand my love to this so great man, for all his so important work and contribution for more peace in this troubled world.
    Thank you Johan, and thank you Antonio for maintaining this so important source of information: Transcend.

  6. Lynette X Shi says:

    I am so sad to hear this news. I attended his classes at the University of Hawaii back in the early 90s, and I still have the notes which left a great impression on me. Dear Professor Galtung, RIP

  7. Faruque Malik says:

    Sad to hear this news. RIP Prof. Johan Galtung.

    Though he is physically not here now, his well lived life for a very important cause, and his contribution towards it can never be ignored.

    His idea about arriving at peace in this world, and contributing towards it by his intellect, time and resources is no small deed.

    RIP Prof. Galtung

  8. Arul Aram says:

    Professor Johan Galtung was a source of great inspiration to me. I have read his works as a student of peacebuilding in Eastern Mennonite University, Transcend Peace University, and in the London School of Economics where I worked on Peace Journalism in South Asia. I now work as Professor of Media Studies in Anna University, Chennai, India. I am willing to collaborate on anyone interested in peace studies.
    +91 9789072466.
    I wish Professor Galtung was awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

  9. Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra says:

    Dear Antonio,

    It is very sad news for me (and sure for all peace lovers in the world) that Johan Galtung passed away. Perhaps the word ‘sad’ is not enough to describe the loss. More so, when the world is going through such a chaotic phase, we need wise counsel and the presence of one of the most peaceful individuals on the earth! We all know, besides his magnanimous and kind nature, Prof. Galtung (the way I addressed him) was one who spearheaded peace studies as an academic discipline.

    I will have the remorse forever that I did not meet him personally though he provided me help on multiple occasions. He wrote a foreword to my book on world order and multipolarism, wrote a chapter on my edited volume on Gandhi, and participated in one of my conferences virtually. I sometimes wonder how Prof. Galtung, such a busy person who was present everywhere in the world, could devote so much time and energy to an individual whom even he did not know personally! I also wonder how he remained so active until his last days! I believe he embodied a ceaseless passion for peace and love.

    Prof. Galtung was born on October 24, which I call an auspicious day as on this day the United Nations was founded. His contribution to peaceful resolution of conflict is incomparable, and would reverberate for many many decades to come.

    I think Prof. Galtung deserved better! Unfortunately we live in a world in which controversial diplomats were awarded Nobel Peace Prize, but not Prof. Galtung!

    His legacy remains forever and inspires peace lovers like me to aspire for a peaceful world and to never give up to realize the mission.

    In the spirit of peace,


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