The Torch of Peace: Remembering Johan Vincent Galtung and His Quality of Vision

The world mourns the passing of Professor Johan Vincent Galtung, an exceptional peace visionary and a true champion for peace, who inspired and coached generations.

Galtung sadly passed away on Saturday, February 17th, 2024, at the age of 93. He was born in Oslo in 1930 to a family of physicians. He seemed destined to follow in their footsteps, for Galtung was also to become a doctor, a “peace doctor”, promoting Peace Building and addressing the root causes of conflict.

The Nazi occupation of Norway during his youth, which included the tragic arrest and disappearance of his father when Johan was 12 years of age, ignited a lifelong passion for understanding and dismantling the structures and ideologies that fuel violence. Galtung was determined to cure the disease of violence.

Inspired by Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent resistance, Galtung dedicated his life to developing and promoting peaceful solutions to conflict. He believed in fostering harmony between opposing sides, disclosing the inherent good within all peoples, and guiding them towards mutually beneficial solutions. His unique approach led him to become a renowned mediator, resolving conflicts across the globe and earning him the prestigious Right Livelihood Award in 1987.

Galtung’s pioneering work established him as the “Father of Peace Studies.” He founded the first chair in Peace Research at the University of Oslo in 1969 and advocated for Peace Development.

While acknowledging the ongoing challenges, he maintained an unwavering optimism about humanity’s ability to move towards a future free from violence. He emphasised that progress, though seemingly slow, is nonetheless undeniable, as evidenced by increased cooperation even amidst ongoing conflicts.

His conflict resolution approach, characterized by careful consideration of each party’s unique needs and perspectives, fostered pragmatic results. Whilst finding common grounds to cooperate for mutual and equal benefit. As a war mediator, dealing with enemies who had incompatible goals, his vision of peace would have the quality to avoid an uncomfortable compromise, yet reaching for a harmonious solution that was beneficial for all.

Johan Galtung’s enduring legacy lies not just in his actions, but in the transformative power of his vision for a more peaceful future. His groundbreaking ideas, such as his focus on structural violence and positive peace, continue to inspire generation and peace builders around the world. He often proved that violence is never healed with more violence, but rather by being creative in discovering the goodness of all.

Cristina Cabrejas Artola is a Mental Health Counselor and Harmony Peace Researcher at International Peace Doctors.

One thought on “The Torch of Peace: Remembering Johan Vincent Galtung and His Quality of Vision”

Comments are closed.