Johan Galtung, born on October 24, 1930, in Oslo, Norway, grew to become one of the most influential figures in the field of peace and conflict studies.

His extensive body of work, which spans over six decades, has laid the foundations for understanding peace and conflict in a global context. Galtung’s contributions have not only defined the discipline but also provided actionable frameworks for conflict resolution and peacebuilding worldwide. 

Galtung’s early experiences during World War II in occupied Norway ignited his interest in peace and conflict. Witnessing the impact of war first-hand instilled in him a deep desire to understand the roots of conflict and explore ways to achieve peace. He pursued his education in mathematics at the University of Oslo, where he demonstrated exceptional intellectual ability. However, his academic interests soon expanded to include sociology, a field in which he also earned a doctoral degree. This interdisciplinary approach became a hallmark of his career, enabling him to analyse peace and conflict from multiple perspectives. 

In 1959, Galtung founded the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), the first institution of its kind, dedicated to the systematic study of the conditions for peaceful relations. His work continued with the establishment of the Journal of Peace Research in 1964, providing a critical platform for disseminating research in the field. 

Galtung’s theoretical contributions are vast and varied. He introduced the concept of “positive peace,” which goes beyond the mere absence of war (negative peace) to include the presence of social justice and the integration of human society. His model of structural violence highlighted how social structures can harm individuals by preventing them from meeting their basic needs, a concept that has influenced the study of social justice and human rights. 

He also developed the “conflict triangle,” a tool for analysing the dynamics of conflict that includes contradiction (the conflict itself), attitude (the parties’ perceptions), and behavior (the parties’ actions). This model has been instrumental in conflict resolution and peace negotiations. 

Beyond academia, Galtung’s commitment to peace took him around the world as a consultant and mediator in international conflicts. He worked in various capacities to facilitate dialogue and propose solutions in conflict-ridden areas, earning recognition for his efforts to bridge divides and build understanding among conflicting parties. 

Galtung’s work has received numerous accolades, reflecting his impact on global peace efforts. Despite facing criticism at times for his views on complex international issues, his commitment to peace and conflict resolution has remained unwavering. 

Johan Galtung’s legacy is not just in his theoretical contributions but also in the global movement toward peace studies and conflict resolution he helped inspire. His vision for a more peaceful world has influenced countless individuals and organisations to pursue peace in their communities and beyond. 



Vision of Humanity

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