The Lifelong Peace Advocate: Marek Thee (1918–99)

Book chapter

Erdal, Marta Bivand (2022) The Lifelong Peace Advocate: Marek Thee (1918–99), in Lives in Peace Research: The Oslo Stories. Singapore: Springer (111–134).

Read the book chapter here (Open Access)

In this portrait of Marek Thee (1918–99), Marte Bivand Erdal tracks his dramatic life. As a young rebel, he lost his Polish citizenship and was refused entry into Poland from Danzig/Gdansk (then part of Germany). He then found his way to Palestine and thus, paradoxically, was saved from the holocaust. After the Second World War he served as a Polish diplomat in the Middle East and Indochina before becoming a professor of international affairs in Warsaw. In 1968, anti-Semitism again deprived him of his citizenship. He joined PRIO in Oslo and worked there until his retirement.

This open access book explains how PRIO, the world’s oldest peace research institute, was founded and how it survived through crises. The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) is the world’s oldest independent peace research institute. In this book, a great number of its researchers and associates, including Johan Galtung, Ingrid Eide, and Mari Holmboe Ruge, who founded the institute back in 1959, tell the stories of their roles in inventing and developing peace research. They reflect on their personal experiences with peace and conflict, tell what drove their peace engagement, and discuss the balance sought in the field between the cold dictates from academic rigor and the hot pursuit of peace, a desire for research to make a positive difference. Most of the chapters are interviews where one colleague interviews another. Some are self-reflective essays, while others are memorial essays written about a peace researcher who has passed away. Taken together, the book presents a lively picture of a thriving world-leading research environment and a wealth of conflicting or mutually reinforcing perspectives on war, violence, conflict, conflict management and resolution, negotiations and mediation, peacemaking, peace building, and the contested concept of peace.

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