Johan Galtung Is Awarded Peace Prize in Nobel’s Spirit

The Norwegian founder of peace research, Johan Galtung, received the People´s Nobel Prize in conformity with the testament of Alfred Nobel that is awarded annually by the Swedish peace group at Orust. 

A seminar connected with the award ceremony reacted with consternation to the present infighting in the Norwegian parliament and to hear that the Stortinget selects the Nobel Committee members based on party interests not on knowledge of peace thinking and belief in cooperation among nations and the abolition of armaments that was the roadmap for global peace that Nobel intended to support with his prize.

“Norway should have left the task to others in 1949,” Galtung said, while at the same time offering recognition for committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen for this year´s prize against nuclear weapons. The People´s Peace Prize came about after the Norwegian awards lost all contact with the Nobel method for durable Peace, stated Tomas Magnusson, a former President of the IPB and now a leader of Nobel Peace Prize Watch. He informed that Johan Galtung for years has been on the NPPW short list of persons who are nominated and qualified to win the official Nobel Prize. Magnusson thought that the struggle for seats in the Nobel committee this fall has made it apparent to everyone that the official Nobel Prize today is about self-centered Norwegian parliamentarians lusting for the coveted seats and how little the prize now has to do with the original peace vision Nobel wished to stimulate.

“An increasing number of people around the world, and also in Norway, find the Norwegian management of the prize embarrassing,” said Magnusson.

Who is Johan Galtung
Born in Norway 87 years ago. The most innovative and productive figure in international peace and conflict research. Has taught at 50 universities around the world and received 50 honorary degrees and other prizes. Consultant to a series of international organisations, the UN in particular. Author of about 160 books in fields such as peace and peace-making, security politics, violence, alternative defence, macro history, mathematics, peace journalism, future research, social science methodology, world order issues, economics and theory of science. Has been a mediator and produced peace plans in around 100 conflicts – among them Palestine-Israel, the Middle East as a region, North and South Korea, Ecuador and Peru, former Yugoslavia, East and West.

Is the founder of Peace Research Institute, Oslo, PRIO, and the network and net university Transcend. Still very active and operates globally, lives in Spain, Japan and the US. Married to Fumiko Nishimura.

The Prize
Has been created as a constructive alternative to the official Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo which, for years, has been awarded in defiance of Alfred Nobel’s will – however not this year when ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, will receive the prize on December 10. The Prize is decided by and awarded by the Peace Movement of Orust, a small association at a small island on the West coast of Sweden – an organisation headed by two other pioneers of peace, Erni and Ola Friholt, who have also passed 80. This prize comes with no money but love and honour.


The Friholts and the Orust movement have a life-long commitment and multi-dimensional work for non-violence, global development, women rights, art and poetry. They represent the finest aspects of the Nordic civil society and public education tradition and peace work. They are also behind what can be characterised as the most important annual series of public lectures, in the Henån Cultural Centre, held by researchers, journalists and authors – always with a humanistic, globalist, critical and constructive perspective. It’s dialogue, not confrontation, it’s deep and it’s broad. High on intellectualism and integrity, low in terms of populism, political correctness and sectarianism. Free thinking for open minds.

In short, the most important peace movement in the Nordic countries with a larger following in local society than anywhere else, a local-global movement in the spirit of Gandhi and with a straight line back to Galtung’s first book, with philosopher Arne Næss, Gandhis Politiske Etikk – Gandhi’s Political Ethics – from 1955.

None whatsoever – if we are to believe Swedish and international media – which of course we should not.

But quite significant in terms of substance – for research, peace, free opinion-formation and the Nordic civil society movement traditions (democracy) – and as constructive comment on today’s Swedish/American security and foreign policy which, beyond doubt, Alfred Nobel would have deplored.

That is – for the ethics of resistance and alternatives. For hope beyond the militarist world and its increasingly destructive thinking.

A Nobel-Gandhi prize which is also in line with the poetic words of another great Norwegian, Nordahl Grieg: “The shells fly as one belt. Stop their drift towards death, stop them with spirit! Surrounded by enemies, engage in your times.” (”Stilt går granaternas glidende bånd. Stans deres drift mot död, stans dem med ånd. Kringsatt av fiender, gå in i din tid.”)

The ceremony
Saturday the 2nd of December 2017 at the old Svanvik School at Stocken, Orust 10 AM. Lectures by Johan Galtung (just arriving from Washington) and Jan Oberg (about Galtung), lunch music, torchlight procession and then at 7 PM the Nobel Banquet with the awarding ceremony. Arranged with the support of the Orust Municipality and Sensus Association for public education and culture.


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