“I wanted to convert my academic learning into socially useful work.” The legal scholar Asbjørn Eide (b. 1933) succeeded Johan Galtung as PRIO director in 1970. In this interview, he reveals that his main motivation for joining PRIO was his fear of nuclear war. In addition to studying the arms race, he engaged with the vision of a New International Economic Order. In the 1980s, he specialized in human rights and minority rights, and left PRIO in 1987 to establish the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights at the University of Oslo.
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.