The historian Azar Gat gave the 2012 Peace Address at PRIO, speaking over the long trending decline of war, violence and fatalities in the world. Read more about the event on the PRIO Annual Peace Address website.
The event was chaired by Henrik Syse, PRIO
- Gro Holm, NRK
- Håvard Hegre, PRIO
The Peace Address was followed by a reception.
|Peace for Our Time?
Contrary to popular assumptions, human fighting and fatalities have been sharply decreasing. There are two major steps in this decline.
The first was the emergence of the state-leviathan thousands of years ago, which greatly reduced in-group violent mortality but also, less recognized, out-group war fatalities. The second is the process of modernization since 1815, which sharply reduced the occurrence and fatalities of war through a combination of rocketing economic growth and commercial interdependence, a parallel explosion in affluence and comfort, the liberal-democratic peace, nuclear deterrence and the sexual revolution.
Contrary to widespread belief, it is not that war has become more lethal and destructive; rather it is primarily peace that has become more profitable. At the same time, the specter of war continues to haunt the parts of the world less affected by the above developments, and the threat of unconventional terror is real and troubling.
The PRIO Annual Peace Address invites distinguished guests to reflect on how to contribute to the creation of a world in which violence is the exception and peace is the norm. The lecturers include scholars, policy makers, writers, artists and others with a distinct voice on peace and war matters on the world scene.
The Peace Address is an important part of our efforts to create awareness, stir public debate and increase understanding about the conditions for peace in the world. We hope that the PRIO Annual Peace Address can challenge the peace research community by suggesting new measures and bringing new perspectives on peace and war. The questions asked and the answers sought can only be improved by critical challenges.