Transnational mobilization and civil war
War-related migration and social networks
Peacebuilding and peacemaking
Methodology in contexts of crisis and conflict
Geographical focus on Afghanistan and its neighborhood
Norwegian, English; basic French and German
|2009– ||Director, PRIO|
|2008||Guest Researcher, Institute for International Migration (ISIM), Georgetown University|
|2007–||Associate Fellow, Post-War Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU), University of York|
|2005–09 ||Deputy Director, PRIO|
|2004–05||Programme Leader, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding (CRPB) programme, PRIO|
|1999–||Senior Researcher, PRIO|
|1999–06||Project Leader, 'Assistance to Mine-Affected Communities (AMAC)'|
|1998||Guest researcher (Fulbright Scholar), Department of Sociolocy, University of Chicago|
|1997–03||Research Fellow, Department of Sociology and Human geography, University of Oslo. |
Project: 'Flight and Social Decision-Making: Forced Migration in Afghanistan'
|1995–97||Research Fellow, PRIO.|
Project: 'Common Security in Southern Africa' (17 months)
|1990–92||Director and Agricultural Coordinator, Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC), Peshawar, Pakistan|
|1989||Conscientious Objector, Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC), Oslo|
|1983–88||Farmer, Harpviken Farm, Brumunddal|
|1981–93||Farm work, Nedre Berg Farm, Brøttum|
|2017||External Board member, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo|
|2016–||Member of the Advisory Committee of the joint United Nations and World Bank Policy Study on the role of Development in the Prevention of Violent Conflict.|
|2016–||Board member, Research Council of Norway’s Board committee for international issues [Styreutvalg for internasjonale saker]|
|2015–||Board member, Division for Society and Health, Research Council of Norway|
|2015–16||Member of Norwegian Commission of Inquiry on Norway’s civilian and military involvement in Afghanistan during the period 2001–2014|
|2014–||Governing Board member,
Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), New Delhi|
|2014–||International Board member,
Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC)|
|2013–||Advisory Board member,
Norwegian Polytechnic Society|
|2012– ||Board of Trustees member, the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights|
|2012–||Advisory Board member,
Business for Peace Foundation|
|2012–16||Editorial Board member,
Politics and Governance (Open Access journal)|
|2011–||Scientific Advisory Council member,
Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA)|
|2010–14 ||Programme Council member for the MA programme in Peace and Conflict Studies (PECOS), University of Oslo|
|2007–||Editorial Board member,
Comparative Social Research (yearbook published by Emerald)|
|2006–09 ||Member of the National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (Norway)|
|2006||PhD in Sociology, University of Oslo [Dissertation]|
|1993–95 ||Cand. Polit (M.Phil.) in Sociology, University of Oslo [Dissertation]|
|1991–93||Development Studies, University of Uppsala|
|1987–89||Cand. Mag, University of Oslo|
|1984–86||Management studies, Norwegian School of Management, Gjøvik|
|1982–83||Agriculturalist, Staup School of Gardening, Levanger|
Posted by Ole Petter Ottersen & Kristian Berg Harpviken on Monday, 27 February 2017
By entering into a new strategic cooperation agreement, the University of Oslo and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) wish to contribute to solidify Oslo’s role as a global powerhouse for knowledge about the prevention and resolution of armed conflict. Ole Petter Ottersen, Rector, University of Oslo Kristian Berg Harpviken, Director, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) The world is undergoing profound political change. After World War II, we have evolved from a period of Cold War dominated by two superpowers, to nearly three decades with a single dominant superpower and a strong commitment to the finding of shared solutions. Now ...
The award of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize is a bold choice. It rewards President Santos of Colombia for his great political courage, and for his ability to think in a strategic, long-term and principled manner about what is needed to bring peace to his country. Santos is also a “classic” choice for the prize. In his will, Alfred Nobel stated that the prize was for “champions of peace”, and many of the prize awards that we remember best have been awards to statesmen, rebel leaders or peace negotiators who have contributed to the ending of wars. This year’s Peace ...
Following the terror attack in Nice, the French President Hollande has responded to mounting criticism by sharpening both his rhetoric and the country’s proposed reactions to terror. But no society can be protected against all risks, and anti-terror efforts do not always have the intended effects. Within a split second, in the afternoon of 14 July, the beach promenade in Nice turned into a scene of terror . The weapon was an ordinary truck. The perpetrator was a petty criminal, a Tunisian citizen, with no known extremist propensities. It is not yet clear whether he carried out the attack alone, ...
Tony Blair took the decision to take part in the military intervention in Iraq in 2003 more or less on his own, and based it on very scant knowledge. Are there reasons to fear the same happening again? The British Chilcot Commission has released a crushing verdict over former PM Tony Blair’s decision to stand side by side with the US in Iraq in 2003. How was it possible for such an important decision to be taken without serious consideration of its long-term consequences? Prior to the presentation of the Commission’s report, John Chilcot expressed that its aim was to ...
It is that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the announcement of this years’ winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, but rather the announcement of my shortlist of favorites. This is a tradition that won’t go away. I keep, as Foreign Policy put it, soldiering on, silently hoping this will be the year I get it just right. My favourite this year, as many of you will have noticed, is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She tops a shortlist consisting of five candidates, each of whom I consider to have a fair shot at winning this year’s prize. ...
In general, religious actors are not perceived as possible contributors to civil society. In Afghanistan, where religion permeates society and politics, and where religious leaders and networks bear considerable influence, this is particularly problematic. There is a need for a thorough rethink of what civil society is, and the role of religion within it. While knowledge is deficient in vital areas, what we do know merits a thorough reorientation of policy and practice. Religious actors are under double pressure. The Taliban, as the main armed opposition, see Islam as their main source of legitimacy. Religious leaders who express support for ...
International peace processes are dominated by men and men’s perspectives. In general the approaches used have changed little in many decades. The focus is invariably on bringing the conflicting parties to the negotiating table, where their claims to power and strategic positions are renegotiated and defined. Amnesties for brutal attacks on civilian populations have been the rule rather than the exception, conveying a message that the route to power is through the actual or threatened use of armed force. People who distance themselves from the use of violence and endeavour to find alternative approaches to conflict resolution are seldom invited ...
Edward Snowden’s nomination for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has stirred controversy in Norway and internationally. Is Snowden a (US) traitor or a (global) saviour? Will Norway allow him to receive the prize, resisting US demands to arrest and hand him over? Along with previous years’ nominations of Julian Assange and Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, Snowden’s candidacy brings attention to one of the largest threats to liberal societies as we know them: traditional human – hence limited – intelligence is replaced or supported by seemingly limitless technology, electronic surveillance and big data. The debate about information technology and cyber warfare leads ...
Why would anyone take it upon themselves to offer speculations on who is to win the Nobel Peace Prize every year? With close to 300 nominees, most of which are secret to everyone but the committee, and a virtually unlimited number of possible winners, the chance of getting it right seems slim. Foreign Policy listed my Nobel speculations as one of the 10 worst predictions in 2012. In a recent op-ed in Aftenposten, Norway’s leading national newspaper, Peace Prize Committee Chair Thorbjørn Jagland complains about the noise from a range of experts and commentators, against which the committee needs to ...
Sitting in Kabul today, watching the Presidential inauguration on local television, it is difficult to say whether we are seeing a new Afghan spring or the onset of a disaster. After weeks and weeks of quarrelling, the two main presidential contenders settled on a power-sharing formula: Ashraf Ghani is the new president, while Abdullah Abdullah takes up a newly established Prime Minister post. The latter also demanded a more prominent role during the inauguration, however, which led to a hot debate over the inaugural liturgy during the last few days. In fear of Abdullah abstaining, many sighed with relief when ...
A new UN report blames the Taliban for a sharp rise in violence against civilians. The Taliban are an organized fighting force. They combine a relatively strong central command with a networked structure in which each of the various factions operate with considerable independence. Establishing control over certain territories has been a main rationale for the Taliban. While their military tactics have changed a lot, their ultimate objectives have not. For the Taliban, military capacity and the ability to control territory are key to their success. Read more about structure, tactics and aims of the militants in DW’s in-depth interview with ...
These days, the Business for Peace Symposium is happening in Oslo. Business leaders from all over the world are gathered to discuss how business can contribute to peace and hinder conflict. Some of the most distinguished guests have arrived from Cyprus, namely Manthos Mavrommatis, Honorary President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Vargin Varer, Vice President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce. The Cyprus issue is currently at its most critical conjuncture for at least a decade. It is indeed only the second time in 40 years that the prospects of a solution might actually be ...
It is time for the Norwegian Parliament to change its practice and appoint a Nobel Peace Prize Committee that includes both experts and internationals. The Nobel Peace Prize is considered one of the world’s strongest symbols; the prize shapes the public agenda and gives voice to peace activists all over the world. Members of the prize-awarding Nobel Committee are appointed by their political parties in the Storting, the Parliament of Norway. This strong link to Norwegian party politics threatens the legitimacy of the prize, and it is high time the Norwegian Storting changes its procedures and includes both experts and internationals in the committee. Alfred Nobel bestowed ...