Category Archives: EDUCATION FOR PEACE

Live Peace – worldwide concerts and live entertainment for peace


Received at CPNN by email from Mayors for Peace France

In collaboration with Mayors for Peace France, we present Live Peace, a citizens’ initiative to organise concerts and live entertainment around the world in support of peace.

55 countries are at war. One country in four. On every continent. On Europe’s doorstep. More than 114 million people are displaced by conflict, and every day thousands of civilians and soldiers lose their lives or are injured.

Enough is enough! We must and can act, each at their own level.

Albert Schweitzer, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952, said: “Governments get along when people force them to get along”.

History is full of evidence of the impact of citizens’ movements on major societal advances: the independence of India, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the end of racial segregation in the United States, the fall of the Berlin Wall and, of course the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

United we stand, divided we fall. Strength against war. Strength for peace.

Live Peace is an event, a tool, a lever enabling people to peacefully ask for peace by taking part in peace concerts and/or live entertainment in their towns and cities on the same day.

Music and arts have the extraordinary power to unite us, to transport us, to uplift us through the collective emotion it generates. Music and live entertainment transcend barriers of religion, skin colour or ideology.

In 1985, 2 billion television viewers watched the legendary Live Aid concert, which brought together 69 of the greatest artists, including Queen, U2, Dire Straits, Elton John, Sting, Madonna and Bob Dylan, for 16 hours on two stages in London and Philadelphia.

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(Click here for the French version of this article)


Question related to this article:

What place does music have in the peace movement?

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Live Peace aspires to become a global event on 21 September each year, the UN International Day of Peace, with more and more concerts and live entertainment organised by cities, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and with songs in every language in the world. We envisage a massive movement of millions of men, women and children calling for peace.

In 2010, at a Mayors for Peace conference, Ban Ki Moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, stressed that “peace is built in towns and villages all over the world, not just in conference halls in New York or Geneva”.

The 8,200 towns and cities that are members of Mayors for Peace represent the sparks that can light the fire of peace by creating together a global musical event that will one day be broadcast on every continent, with millions of citizens asking governments for peace between peoples.

Asking for peace and peacefully ACHIEVING peace through the strength of their numbers.

On 21 September, the towns of Grigny and Bonneuil sur Marne organised the first two Live Peace concerts in France.

On 21 September, we invite you to organise YOUR first Live Peace concert and/or live entertainment. In 1982, a handful of French towns launched the fête de la musique, now celebrated in over 120 countries.

On 21 September, we invite you to make history. The history of humanity united for peace.

This text twill be sent to all international media.

I, the undersigned:
Agree to sign the Live Peace Tribune – Concerts for Peace On at
Signature :

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World Youth Orchestra debuts in Vietnam with “Sound of Brotherhood” project


An article from Nhân Dân

The World Youth Orchestra (WYO) will perform alongside the Vietnam National Academy of Music Youth Symphony Orchestra (VNAMYO) in the musical project titled “Sounds of brotherhood”, which will take place in Hanoi .

Conductor Damiano Guiranna and 45 members of WYO, as well as 25 members of VNAMYO, will rehearse and perform together from March 30 to April 10, as part of the musical project entitled “Sounds of brotherhood”.

Founded in 2001 by Italian conductor Damiano Giuranna, the WYO has welcomed around 3,500 talents from all continents and participated in numerous musical tours around the world. Photo: WYO.

Among the highlights of the event will be concerts on the theme “The night of ascending dragon”, on the evening of April 6 at the large concert hall of the National Academy of Music, and “Gala Opera Puccini” on April 10 at the Hanoi Opera House.

During the two concerts, audiences will have the opportunity to experience classical musical instruments and works written by famous composers such as Tchaikovsky, Rossini and Puccini, as well as works by Vietnamese composers such as Dang Huu Phuc and Trân Manh Hung.

The combination of young artists from 20 countries and territories around the world will spread positive energy to music lovers in Hanoi.

Promote cultural diplomacy and peace efforts

“Sound of Brotherhood” is a music project launched by WYO in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, for a period of three years.

This project originates from the initiative of the artistic director and founder of the WYO, Damiano Giuranna, who wants to demonstrate that music should not be limited to being a cultural necessity of the upper class, but that it can represent a powerful tool communication of ideas and values, or even an instrument of cultural diplomacy. It benefits from the assistance of the CDP and LCA Studio Legale foundations, the Italian Embassy in Hanoi, the Italian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and a number of Vietnamese and international partners.

The project reflects WYO’s commitment to promoting dialogue and a culture of peace between people around the world through art and music. It also makes it possible to strengthen cultural and artistic cooperation between Italy and Vietnam, to develop artistic, musical and theatrical expression among younger generations, as well as to support the training of young Vietnamese artists.

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(Click here for the French original of this article)


Question related to this article:

What place does music have in the peace movement?

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In addition to musical concerts, the project includes a theater workshop entitled “Dialogues in Music”, led by professional Italian actors, in collaboration with the University of Theater and Cinema of Hanoi, and a call for multidisciplinary projects for Vietnamese artists, with the help of the National Institute of Culture and Arts of Vietnam (VICAS).

The music and arts program called WYO4Children is an important part of the project. Officially launched on January 27, in Ho Chi Minh City, by the WYO foundation, in collaboration with the Missionary Sisters of Charity of Binh Duong province, the program brings together 80 Vietnamese orphans and abandoned children, aged 5 at 17, to support their individual, emotional, social, human and spiritual growth through music and art.

The program includes weekly lessons, during which children have the opportunity to receive basic musical training and play classical and traditional Vietnamese instruments.

The Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Marco Della Seta welcomed the launch of the “Sound of Brotherhood” project in Vietnam, as a significant contribution to popular exchanges between Vietnam and Italy.

Enrico Padula, Consul General of Italy in Ho Chi Minh City, for his part, described music as “a universal language that brings cultures together and transmits emotions and sensations that transcend individual realities.” He stressed that this project represents between Vietnam and Italy “a fundamental bridge for dialogue and mutual understanding, in order to overcome geographical distances”.

The WYO, based in Italy, was founded on September 15, 2001 by Italian conductor Damiano Giuranna, to support cultural diplomacy and contribute to peace efforts.

The WYO has welcomed around 3,500 talents from all continents and participated in numerous musical tours around the world.

In January 2014, the organization created the WYO Foundation, whose mission is to manage the activities of the WYO and all the music groups that come from it. Placed under the management of the non-governmental organization Musica Europa, the WYO foundation aims to develop young musical talents and to launch artistic and musical projects intended to raise public awareness on major social issues such as peace, fraternity, multicultural dialogue, or even cultural diplomacy.

Adolfo Vannucci, president of the WYO Foundation, said his organization “searches for and encourages local tradition, developing artistic experiences that connect tradition and modernity, that provide educational enrichment and that nourish social life and personal growth with new blood. After successful initiatives in countries such as Iran, Israel, Palestine, Morocco, Lebanon, the United States, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bulgaria, the WYO wishes to arrive in Southeast Asia, a “land of ancient civilizations.”

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Colombia: The first meeting is held in Cali to weave a network of peace initiatives in the territories


An article from the Ministry of Culture of Colombia

Between April 3 and April 5, the first national meeting took place for territorial networks for a culture of peace, an initiative of the Culture of Peace Strategy of the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Knowledge.

The beginninf of the space was marked by the voices of the Cantaoras de Pogue (Bojayá) who evoked the pain of their history; an echo to leave war and seek peace.

The song invited the 25 artistic and cultural organizations from the municipalities of Antioquia, Nariño, Chocó, Putumayo, Caribe and Bogotá, attending the event, to reflect on the transformative power of unity, mutual protection and trust in the ability of the territories to forge peace.

Space for mutual recognition of organizations. Photo: Paula Beltrán.

The objective of this meeting is to recognize the artistic and cultural organizations strengthened by the Culture of Peace Strategy of the Ministry of Cultures and promote their exchange of experiences, methodologies and processes.

“In the arts you show us that other country that some have called ‘the geography of hope.’ We must move from resistance to guarantees of rights, so that we can advance beyond war and everything that has harmed us,” said Adriana Molano, Vice Minister of Heritage, Memories and Cultural Governance.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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It is expected that during the three days of the meeting, these organizations will connect experiences, create peace networks and share their territorial processes, commitments and methodologies around the creation of a culture of peace.

For the Culture of Peace Strategy, these initiatives are platforms that, from the territories, make it possible to address daily violence, long-term violence and the factors of persistence of armed conflict.

The main purpose of the strategy is to enhance the political and transformative nature of culture in the care of all forms of life, as well as in the understanding and processing of conflicts.

“We work with children and young people, so that through culture they are part of a new world. I think that this meeting invites us to learn about the initiatives of the other groups, to know how we are all working for that long-awaited peace,” said Fernanda Tenorio Quiñones, who comes from Tumaco and is a member of the Pacific Folklore School Foundation.

A culture of peace for what?

Since 2023, Minculturas has been accompanying and supporting territorial peace culture initiatives. It does so with processes to strengthen its management capabilities, training spaces and guaranteeing the visibility of its actions. This is in line with the commitment to recognize that peace is forged from the territories and that the cultural efforts coming from the communities are decisive for the transformation of the stories of war into new imaginaries of the nation.

The proposal of a Culture of Peace is to strengthen political participation and territorial transformation, promote the sensitivity that art contains towards daily life, dignify life, process mourning and repair damage. To build, together, new stories of the nation.

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France: Conference on peace and climate at Rennes 2 University


An article from Info Locale (translation by CPNN)

As part of the project “Young people, citizens in solidarity for Peace, Nuclear disarmament, the climate and the human right to Peace, (from the neighborhood to the Planet)”, we have set up a committee of Rennes students for peace.

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Question for this article:

University campus peace centers, What is happening on your campus?

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Our main objective is to promote the culture of peace in academic circles.
On March 28, 2024, we held our first conference on Peace and Climate in partnership with the association Ar Vuhez at Rennes 2 University, Villejean Campus , in the presence of students from various establishments.

We express our gratitude to all participants, in particular to Babas Babakwanza and Roland Nivet for their very informative interventions.

– Rennes Student Committee for Peace

Click here for the original French version of this article

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FIJCA 2024: JAZZ as an instrument of social cohesion in Ivory Coast


An article from Africa Radio (translation by CPNN)

“Jazz, youth of Ivory Coast and culture of peace” is the theme chosen for the 2nd edition of the International Festival of Jazz and African Cultures (FIJCA) which will be held from April 27 to May 1, 2024 in the Jessie Jackson sports complex of the commune of Yopougon .

March 18, 2024 at 1:23 p.m. by Juliette Abwa V/ Africa Radio Abidjan

Initiated by Constant Boty, this event is intended to be a tool for intercultural connection highlighting several disciplines: cultural and creative industries, literature and sport. The FJCA is not only a world-renowned musical event but is above all a cultural, educational and economic beacon.

In view of the electoral deadlines of 2025, the International Festival of Jazz and African Cultures positions itself as a means of raising awareness among young people about democracy, civic and citizen engagement in order to arouse in them the need to constitute themselves as agents of peace for a democratic, peaceful and prosperous Ivory Coast, a guarantee of all development. Hence the relevance of this year’s theme: “Jazz, youth of Ivory Coast and culture of peace”.

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(Click here for the French original of this article)


Question related to this article:

What place does music have in the peace movement?

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For Constant Boty, Commissioner General of the FJCA, the objective is to strengthen Peace and social cohesion, while encouraging the civic participation of young people and the empowerment of women. In addition, the festival will highlight the rich Ivorian cultural diversity with its many ethnic groups, create a bridge of cooperation between Ivorian youth and those of other countries, raise awareness among young people about a culture of peace in order to contribute to the animation and preservation of the historic town of Grand-Bassam, a UNESCO cultural heritage site.

Mame Oumar Diop, head of the UNESCO office in Abidjan, expressed her satisfaction with this initiative, emphasizing the ability of jazz to promote peace, dialogue and cooperation between peoples. The 4 days of the Festival will be include conferences, training workshops, Master-classes, tourist visits, sport, arts, with relaxation areas, concerts and games.

International artists will include Tatev, Tom Luer, Dj Logic from the USA, Guillaume Repain, JB Moundele, Le Petit Grain, Johanna Welter from France and Bassekou Kouyaté; John Kiffy, Kamikaz du Zouglou, Fitini Tecnick Le Créateur, INSAAC Jazz Ensemble, Yakomin, Jahelle Bonee, Yedidia and many others.

This new edition will headline Benito Gonzalez, a two-time GRAMMY Award-nominated pianist and contemporary jazz master who combines a long line of American jazz traditions with rhythms from around the world.

More than 3,000 people per day are expected to attend the festival with effective mobilization of all the populations of Abidjan, particularly young people.

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Service Civil International: Call for participants: “From Conflict to Collaboration: Building a Culture of Peace in Diverse Communities”


An announcement from Service Civil International

The “Peace in Diversity” project develops conflict resolution skills in youth leaders, equips professionals and volunteers with tools for peacebuilding in daily lives, enhances partner organisations’ capacity as peace promoters, and takes co-responsibility for the peaceful future of Europe.

In particular, we aim to:

° demonstrate to the young people that peace starts with how we treat our neighbours and community members and motivate them to consciously support peaceful coexistence

° equip professionals and volunteers with expertise and tools to build and sustain peace on a micro level among the youth living in diverse groups and communities;

° work with the youth so that they grow into leaders who can resolve conflicts without recourse to any type of violence.

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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The project foresees 2 international training courses (April and November 2024), local follow-up actions, the “Tools for Peace” webinar series, and an online workshop.
One of these trainings is “From Conflict to Collaboration: Building a Culture of Peace in Diverse Communities” 

When: April 2nd – 9th, 2024
Where: Herentals, Belgium
During this week-long program, you’ll:

° Acquire practical tools for conflict resolution and community building.

° Connect with inspiring individuals from 11 different countries.

° Experience the beauty of the Flemish countryside while engaging in meaningful learning experiences.

If you’re ready to seize this incredible opportunity and be part of something truly impactful, apply now before it’s too late! You can see the call for applications here. You can also access the application form here.

The Role of Universities in Supporting Young People to Become Effective Peace Builders: The Experience of Hawassa University in Ethiopia


An article by  Fikrewold Yeneneh from Ukfiet, the Education and Development Forum

Before the political change in Ethiopia in 2018, when political upheavals and recurring conflicts intensified throughout the country, a number of public universities in the country were exposed to violent clashes. These clashes resulted in the loss of life and the destruction of property, and the teaching, learning and research functions of many public universities in the country have been repeatedly disrupted. In addition, these clashes have weakened the social bonds among students and have made our universities more vulnerable to conflicts, evident in the increased frequency of violent incidences that are occurring in universities across the country. This security threat is so serious that the federal government decided that all public universities should be guarded by the federal police and the army. Accordingly, the federal police have now been stationed in all public universities.

Hawassa University, where I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Governance and Development Studies, is one of these public universities. It is situated in Southern Ethiopia in Sidama National Regional State and has an enrolment of about 40,000 students. Before 2019, Hawassa University was under the administrative region known as the South Nations and Nationalities Regional State, but following years of conflict and active campaigning for regional statehood, in which young people played a significant role, this region has been divided into four separate regions along ethnic lines, following different groups’ quest for self-administration.

In view of the prevailing conflict environment in public universities, intervening in peacebuilding has become a practical imperative for our university. In addition to helping stem conflicts with police involvement, we believe that universities, through their teaching, research and community service mandates, can make an important contribution to conflict resolution and the improvement of the conflict situations on their campus by helping their students to become effective peacemakers.

In this respect, Hawassa University, in collaboration with international organisations (including the EU and the British Council in our Enabling University Peace Education project, and activities supported by USAID), has focused on three main interventions that enhance the capacity of the students and enable them to take up an active role in peacebuilding activities, within the university as well as in their respective communities. It is these practical steps taken by our university to promote peace in difficult conflict-affected circumstances that I focus on in this article.

1. Strengthening the peacebuilding role of student clubs

To rebuild the social bonds among students and facilitate a constructive dialogue for peace, we have strengthened and empowered our student clubs. The five main student clubs at our university (two of which are women’s clubs) have been given more resources for their activities and their student leaders provided with leadership training.

We also supported the clubs to host events on the theme of peace values within the university, including dialogues and debates on the role of youth in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, in which over 1,000 students have participated to date. Through these events, we have enabled the student clubs to provide institution-wide platforms for mainstreaming a culture of peace in students’ social lives. The positive impact this has had is evident in the students’ increasing participation and their eagerness to host even more of these events. Moreover, we have observed a growing commitment among our students to support others who are adversely affected by violent conflicts. For instance, one of the clubs hosted an event to welcome displaced students from the universities in the Tigray region, which have been devasted by conflict, with the aim of demonstrating their compassion and empathy.

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Questions for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

University campus peace centers, What is happening on your campus?

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2. Providing peace education courses

To enhance the capacity of the students’ peacebuilding role, we have provided training to nearly 350 students on conflict management, conflict resolution and peace values, particularly aimed at club leaders and those who are active in student affairs. Half of the trainees are female students. The training has spurred the students on to increased civic activism on issues pertaining to peacebuilding. Notably, under their own initiative, they established a peace club, which is the first of its kind in the University.

3. Communicating a culture of peace

To integrate a culture of peace within the social fabric of our diverse study body, a billboard that reflects the value of peace has been mounted at each of the four different campuses of Hawassa University. In addition, brochures that promote democratic and peace values have been distributed to 4,000 students. As a more permanent and visible reminder of the ideation of peace and peace values among students, and to provide a space where students can meet in groups to discuss and enforce positivity and peace, we established a peace park on the main campus of Hawassa University.

Hawassa University’s peacebuilding initiatives and the results achieved so far are showing us that we can facilitate students to become better agents of peace through establishing, in collaboration with them, the spaces to discuss and debate peace, by providing good quality capacity-building interventions that enhance their conflict analysis, conflict management and critical thinking skills, and by mainstreaming a visible culture of peace in our institution. However, this does not mean that the activities that we have conducted thus far are alone sufficient to enable students to be as effective as peace agents as they could be. Looking to the future, we believe we could do more:

Firstly, our capacity-building interventions have to encompass many more students. To date, the peace education courses have reached less than 1,000 students, that is one 40th of the university’s 40,000 students.

Secondly, we need to facilitate activities that link the students and communities in future interventions. Thus far, students’ peace initiatives have not extended beyond the walls of the university campus, constraining their peacebuilding impact and visibility as peace agents within wider society.

Thirdly, to enhance the effectiveness of students’ peacebuilding role, the university should extend its future capacity-building interventions to within the local communities in which students undertake their peacebuilding activities. To this end, the university should conduct more peace research to understand in more depth their local contexts. Our Enabling University Peace Education Project is supporting these three ambitions by enabling us to develop and offer peace education training to many more students of all disciplines, form local community partnerships for peace and by funding eight new context-relevant research projects.

We suggest that our experiences at Hawassa University can contribute to the learning about how universities in conflict-affected settings can play a positive role in peacebuilding. We would welcome further contact with other universities that are interested in sharing and exchanging learning and knowledge of peace education journeys and our efforts to make a difference in the peacebuilding processes in our societies.

This article was supported by ‘Enabling University Peace Education’, a three-year project funded by the EU and British Council with the aim of improving the participation of young people, particularly women, in peacebuilding activities in Sudan and Ethiopia. It is one of a series of articles ‘Telling our story’ which share the experiences and learning of our partner universities with a focus on one or more of the project’s main thematic areas. Through these articles, we hope to highlight to the wider higher education sector, communities and policymakers the important role that universities can play in peace education, and to encourage more universities to enable young people in and outside their institutions to participate in peacebuilding. You can learn more about the EUPE project here.

Johan Galtung: In Memoriam


An article by Nils Petter Gleditsch in the website of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo

Johan Galtung passed away this morning (February 17). He was born in 1930 on 24 October, the same day that 15 years later would see the founding of the United Nations. There is something symbolic about having the same birthday as the UN. As a researcher, Galtung’s orientation was unusually international. An excellent linguist, he was well-travelled and made his home in several countries.

Johan Galtung. Niccolò Caranti / Wikimedia Commons

He was a person of exceptional energy. After qualifying for university in two subjects, he completed two simultaneous master’s degrees (in statistics and sociology), and went on to hold professorships in several fields and in many countries. In his younger years, he was a signatory of the manifesto for Aksjon mot doktorgraden (a campaign against the Norwegian doctoral degrees), but he came to hold honorary doctorates from a range of universities.

After establishing what would become the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) in 1959, he went on to found the Journal of Peace Research in 1964. Neither of these would have become what they are today without the impetus that Galtung gave them in their early years. In 1969, he became the first Professor of Peace Research at the University of Oslo. While this was not a personal professorship, there can be no doubt that the chair would never have been established if Galtung’s supporters at the University and in political circles had not known that there would be at least one committed and competent applicant. Galtung was not yet 40 when he was appointed to the professorship, but in a sense the appointment came too late. Sabbaticals and residencies abroad became more frequent and more lengthy and in 1978 he resigned – explaining his decision with reference to one of the campaign points of the 1968 student protests: no one should hold a professorship for more than 10 years! Now came professorships in many other countries, the longest-lasting of which was in political science at the University of Hawaii.

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Question for this article:

How can we carry forward the work of the great peace and justice activists who went before us?

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Galtung’s first projects at the Peace Research Institute resulted in a series of articles in the Journal of Peace Research. These articles continue to be his most cited works and concerned varied and important topics such as structural violence, concepts of peace, international news dissemination, imperialism, and the role of summits in international relations. Together with Arne Næss, he was also a pioneer of efforts to codify Gandhi’s ideas about non-violence and conflict management.

After Galtung left PRIO and moved to the University of Oslo and later to his international career, he also reoriented himself in many ways in a purely scholarly manner. His public remarks also became more acerbic and polemical, gaining him many critics. He never had problems attracting students and collaborators, but many of his students from his years of scholarly entrepreneurship in Norway found it difficult to follow him in this new orientation. As a scholarly field, peace research became more accepted, and some might also say, more conventional. Johan could be extremely critical, suggesting, for example, that the Peace Research Institute should change its name to something like the Norwegian Institute for Security Research. It was with a certain sense of unease that some of us opened his autobiography, Johan uten land (literally, ‘John without a country’), which was published on his 70th birthday, and then 10 years later, his Launching Peace Studies: The First PRIO Years. But in both these books he showered compliments on his colleagues from his pioneering years.

Galtung was bold in advancing concrete predictions about the world’s future. In my opinion this was a strength, especially in comparison with the cautious and wise-with-hindsight remarks to which social scientists are often prone. While he was not always equally adept at admitting to his errors, he had no lack of critics who were happy to point out his errors for him. For a researcher, obstinacy can be a strength, including when things get difficult. Progress in research is often achieved through a dialogue between the bold voices and their critics, between the sceptic and the enthusiast, as Johan himself put it in an essay from 1960.

When the Peace Research Institute – long after Galtung’s time – became the first institution to be designated a Centre of Excellence in the social sciences by the Research Council of Norway, this represented a recognition of what Galtung had started, even though he himself had pursued other paths. When we heard news in 2002, I sent him an e-mail in which I pointed to his share of the honour: ‘You’re a bit proud even so, aren’t you?’ He didn’t respond affirmatively, but neither did he deny it.

For those of us who were young in the 1960s and entered the social sciences, and especially peace research, Johan Galtung was an unusually inspiring mentor. He was generous with his time and supplied endless scholarly guidance and encouragement. When something did not go well, he would take the time to explain why. Those of us who could not always follow him onwards on his complex path, are nevertheless eternally grateful for having enjoyed such help and support as we entered the world of research.

(Nils Petter Gleditsch is PRIO Research Professor Emeritus.)

PRIO Director Henrik Urdal’s interview with Johan Galtung in 2019

The Rez of the Story: What is a culture of peace?


An article by Vince Two Eagles in the Lakota Times (located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, USA)

Yesterday, February 4th, was recognized as the “International Day of Human Fraternity by the United Nations.” The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres calls for we humans to “…reaffirm our commitment to bridging divides, fostering religious understanding and cooperation among people of all cultures and beliefs. Together, let us forge a path towards a more peaceful, just and harmonious work for all.”

The headline reads, “Human fraternity for peace and cooperation” on the UN website. The very valid question, “What is the culture of peace?” is asked and answered as follows:

“The culture of peace is a set of values, attitudes, traditions and models of behavior and ways of life based on:

1. Respect for life, ending of violence and promotion and practice of non-violence through education, dialogue and cooperation;

2. Full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States and non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law;

3. Full respect for and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

4. Commitment to peaceful settlement of conflicts;

5. Efforts to meet the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations;

6. Respect for and promotion of the right to development; Respect for and promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and men;

7. Respect for and promotion of the right of everyone to freedom of expression, opinion and information;

8. Adherence to the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, pluralism, culture diversity, dialogue and understanding at all levels of society and among nations; and fostered by an enabling national and international environment conducive to peace; (Source: A/ RES/53/243).”

The UN site goes on to state:”We need — perhaps more than ever before — to recognize the valuable contribution of people of all religions, or beliefs, to humanity and the contribution that dialogue among all religious groups can make towards an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind.”

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Question for this article:

Can the vision of a culture of peace help inspire action?

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“We also need to underline the importance of raising awareness about different cultures and religions, or beliefs, and the promotion of tolerance, which involves societal acceptance and respect for religious and cultural diversity, including with regard to religious expression. Education, in particular at school, should contribute in a meaningful way to promoting tolerance and the elimination of discrimination based on religion or belief.”

“Furthermore, we must acknowledge that tolerance, pluralistic tradition, mutual respect and the diversity of religions and beliefs promote human fraternity. Thus, it is imperative that we encourage activities aimed at promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue in order to enhance peace and social stability, respect for diversity and mutual respect and to create, at the global level, and also at the regional, national and local levels, an environment conducive to peace and mutual understanding.”

“Within that frame, the General-Assembly took note of all international, regional, national and local initiatives, as appropriate, as well as efforts by religious leaders, to promote inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, and in this regard took note also of the meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi, which resulted in the signing of the document entitled ‘Human fraternity for world peace and living together’.”

“Following the devastation of the Second World War, the United Nations was established to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. One of its purposes is to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems, including by promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

“In 1999, the General-Assembly adopted, by resolution 53/243, the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, which serves as the universal mandate for the international community, particularly the United Nations system, to promote a culture of peace and non-violence that benefits all of humanity, including future generations.”

“The declaration came about as a result of the long held and cherished concept — contained within the Constitution of UNESCO — that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” The Declaration embraces the principle that peace is not merely the absence of conflict, but also requires a positive, dynamic participatory process, in which dialogue is encouraged and conflicts are resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.”

“On 20 October 2010, the General-Assembly in resolutionA/RES/65/5 pointed out that mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and established World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith. It further recognized the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people.”

“At the core of all the faith systems and traditions is the recognition that we are all in this together and that we need to love and support one another to live in harmony and peace in an environmentally sustainable world. Our world continues to be beset by conflict and intolerance with rising numbers refugees and the internationally displaced in a hostile and unwelcoming world around them. We are also, unfortunately, witnessing messages of hate spreading discord among people. The need for spiritual guidance has never been greater. It is imperative that we double our efforts to spread the message of good neighborliness based on our common humanity, a message shared by all faith [and non-faith] traditions.”

“The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 4 February as the International Day of Human Fraternity, with resolution 75/200.”

And now you know the Rez of the story.

Doksha . . . (“see you later” in the Sioux language)

Book review: The Real Nobel Prize


A CPNN book review

Frederik Heffermehl begins his book, “The Real Nobel Prize” with the words from the testament of Alfred Nobel: a prize “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for creating the brotherhood of nations, for the abolition of reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Nobel tasked the Norwegian parliament to establish a five-member committee to award the prize.

The internal committee’s archives are available until 50 years ago, and for more recent years Heffermehl examined the reports from consultants and the committee’s shortlist to determine if Nobel’s intentions were respected. “It was a daunting task. The material is enormous. Fortunately, the Nobel Foundation, at its website, presents all laureates with a short essence of the reasons – under Facts.”

Considering the choices made by this committee over the years, Heffermehl says, “No doubt, the Norwegian committee has honored many fine people and purposes, humanitarian aid, democracy, resource conservation, the fight against poverty and child labor, for the environment, climate, human rights, education” but these do not correspond to Nobel’s testament as expressed above. Heffermehl concludes that only 36 awards over the 134 years pass the test.

If his Nobel’s will had been carried out correctly in recent years, Heffermehl argues that the prize could have gone to the following nominees:

2020: Federico Mayor, who created the Culture of Peace Programme at UNESCO.

2021: Julian Assange, who distributed to the world press “a huge and horrifying amount of revealing documents on US diplomacy and war crimes in Asia.”

2022: Alfred de Zayas, who “has become a leading, most prolific defender of improving global co-operation and “Building a Just World Order”, the title of his latest book.

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Question for this article:

What are the most important books about the culture of peace?

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Instead, the prize in 2020 went to the World Food Programme “for its efforts to combat hunger.”

The prize in 2021 went to Maria Ressa (Philippines) and Dmitry Muratov (Russia) “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.” As Heffermehl says, “In 2021 the committee had several nominations asking it to help stop the probably deadliest onslaught against media feedom in human history”, e.g. Assange, “but the committee did not wish to embarass the US war machine. . . ”

In 2022, the prize went to three human rights advocates, Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, Memorial from Russia, and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties. “As was the case in 2021, all three laureates were financed generously by a tool for the US secret services, the National Endowment for Democracy. They used their acceptance speeches to ‘parrot US State Department:Pentagon talking points’, even directly asking the the Norwegian government for weapons. . . the prize was used to take sides in an ongoing war, instead of against all war and war culture.”

As a Norwegian citizen and scholar concerning the Nobel Prize, Heffermehl has tried to correct the work of the Nobel Prize Committee. He first published his critique in 2007. The first official response came in June 2008 from the speaker of the Norwegian parliament who argued that “Parliament has no power to instruct the Nobel committee.” A few months later he became a member of the committee.

Over the years, Heffermehl has continued to request the Parliament to nominate committee members who would respect Nobel’s testament, and several times he has been joined in his request by other specialists. However, the Parliament even voted against the idea that Nobel’s intention should count in the election of members for the Nobel Committee.

One should not give up, however, and the book provides an appendix on how to nominate, and how to get nominated for the Nobel Prize.

At the end of the book, after listing his many acknowledgements, Heffermehl concludes, “My warmest thanks . . . to the inspiring line-up of peacemakers I discovered in the archives of the Nobel Committee. It has been heartbeaking to follow how our society, blinded by militarism, so far has been unable to benefit from their wisdom and unselfish dedication to our common security and survival.”

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(Editor’s note: On December 12, two months ago, Frederik Heffermehl sent me an email, saying “Thanks for the fine contribution to the Vijay Mehta and David Swanson talk on the net Saturday. I think you should consider my latest book as a very useful tool for peace education and creating awareness of the vast and varied movement for a fundamental change of attitude to weapons and war – launched a month ago: The Real Nobel Peace Prize. I would like to send you a copy – but then will need your postal address.” In reply I sent him my address and then received a copy of his book in the post. I then wrote the above review and sent it to him for his additions and corrections. But I did not receive a reply, and recently learned that he died on December 23. An article about his life is reprinted here on CPNN.)