One of the main activities in the anniversary year is the launch of a series of interviews with or stories about people at the core of PRIO in the early as well as recent years. This project is being headed by Stein Tønnesson, and planned by a committee also consisting of Cindy Horst and Helge Pharo (former chair of the PRIO board).
From Controversy to Excellence: Peace Research at Sixty
An Introduction by Stein Tønnesson
The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) was founded on 25 May 1959. From the first moment, it was surrounded by controversy over its radical scienfic approaches new creative thinking and promotion of Gandhi-inspired non-violence in a Cold War atmosphere. PRIO sought to foster reconciliation instead of confrontation, and introduced new concepts such as "structural violence" and "positive/negative peace".
In 2009, Gudleiv Forr wrote a book – Strid og fred: Fredsforskning i 50 år (Oslo: Pax) – documenting the origins of PRIO and tracing its subsequent impact over the next 50 years. The book presents three key figures – or heroes – in the history of peace research in Oslo: Johan Galtung (1930–), Nils Petter Gleditsch (1944–) and Hilde Henriksen Waage (1960–).
Johan Galtung was the innovative father of the new field of study, coining its key terms – even "peace research" itself. He always surprised with his unconventional ideas, inspiring generations to come, but eventually left his professorship in Oslo in order to transcend national borders and become a fully accomplished cosmopolitan.
Nils Petter Gleditsch drove most of the controversy around PRIO during the 1970s–80s, when he uncovered and revealed some of the Norwegian government's highly protected Cold War secrets. In the 2000s, Gleditsch transformed himself into the main architect behind PRIO's internationally recognized academic excellence, as a newly convinced adherent to the theories of a "democratic" or "capitalist" peace.
Hilde Henriksen Waage played a key role in the PRIO leadership from the 1990s onwards, built up PRIO's competence on the "missing peace" in the Middle East, and maintained PRIO's controversial public profile through her critical examination of the Norwegian government's role in mediating the Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993.
For PRIO's 60th anniversary, we asked these prominent figures and other PRIO veterans to look back at PRIO's history through a series of researcher-led interviews. What emerged was a fascinating record of different perspectives on the development of international peace research. The interviews have since been abridged and translated into English, forming a collection of PRIO Stories.
Together, the PRIO Stories constitute a memorial mosaic, shedding new light on how Oslo gained its prominence within a path-breaking field of social science.
These published English-language interviews are abridged, often translated, and language-edited versions of audio recordings. The full, original transcripts of the audio, in the preferred language of the interviewees, are also available below.
The below list will likely be slightly expanded, and gradually become clickable, as the interviews are finalized.
- Johan Galtung, interviewed by Henrik Urdal. (Original transcript here)
- Ingrid Eide, interviewed by Stein Tønnesson. (Original transcript here)
- Mari Holmboe Ruge, interviewed by Kristian Berg Harpviken. (Original transcript here)
- Erik Rinde, portrait by Lars Even Andersen. (Original transcript here)
- Nils Petter Gleditsch, interviewed by Hilde Henriksen Waage. (Original transcript here)
- Asbjørn Eide, interviewed by Helge Øystein Pharo. (Original transcript here)
- Helge Hveem, interviewed by Per Olav Reinton. (Original transcript here)
- Peter Wallensteen, interviewed by Siri Aas Rustad. (Original transcript here)
- Marek Thee, portrait by Marta Bivand Erdal.
- Sverre Lodgaard, interviewed by Hilde Henriksen Waage. (Original transcript here)
- Dan Smith, interviewed by Stein Tønnesson. (Original transcript here)
- Helga Hernes, interviewed by Kristian Berg Harpviken. (Original transcript here)
- Hilde Henriksen Waage, interviewed by Henrik Syse. (Original transcript here)
- Wenche Hauge, interviewed by Åshild Kolås. (Original transcript here)
- Stein Tønnesson, self-authored essay.
- Åshild Kolås, interviewed by Wenche Hauge. (Original transcript here)
- Lene Kristin Borg and Grete Thingelstad, in conversation with Stein Tønnesson. (Original transcript here)
- Inger Skjelsbæk, interviewed by Cindy Horst. (Original transcript here)
- Pavel Baev, interviewed by Stein Tønnesson. (Original transcript here)
- Scott Gates, interviewed by Nils Petter Gleditsch. (Original transcript here)
- Kristian Berg Harpviken, interviewed by Arne Strand. (Original transcript here)
- Henrik Syse, interviewed by Trond Bakkevig. (Original transcript here)
- Mete Hatay, interviewed by Cindy Horst. (Original transcript here)
PRIO would like to thank Fredsstiftelsen for support to our interviews with pioneering female peace researchers.