Johan Galtung, “the Father of Peace Studies,” Dies at 93


Right Livelihood Awards - TRANSCEND Media Service

21 Feb 2024 – Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung, who has developed an academic understanding of peacebuilding and is known as “the father of peace studies,” passed away on February 17, 2024, at the age of 93. A recipient of the Right Livelihood Award in 1987, Galtung was a dedicated peace advocate whose influence extended far beyond national borders.

“His legacy serves as a reminder of the power of compassion, empathy, and dialogue in resolving conflicts and building a more harmonious world,” said Ole von Uexkull, Right Livelihood’s Executive Director. “His tireless efforts to promote non-violent alternatives and address the root causes of conflict have left an indelible mark on the world.”

Born on October 24, 1930, in Oslo, Norway, Galtung dedicated his life to fostering understanding, dialogue, and reconciliation in areas of conflict globally. His holistic approach to peacebuilding, encompassing both structural and cultural dimensions, revolutionised the field of peace studies and inspired generations of peace activists. He has also created a new approach to economics that can more comfortably accommodate the overarching goals of peace, development, human growth and ecological balance.

Galtung’s contributions to peace and reconciliation extended beyond academia. He helped mediate more than 150 conflicts globally, working to bridge divides and build sustainable peace processes. He was also a strong advocate of “peace journalism” as a way to counteract war and violence-based reporting.

In 1993, Johan Galtung founded TRANSCEND, a network for Peace and Development, which is now running Transcend Peace University with a number of courses online, Transcend University Press, Transcend Media Service with material on current events, and Transcend Research Institute.

Galtung received the Right Livelihood Award in 1987 for “his systematic and multidisciplinary study of the conditions which can lead to peace.”

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

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