Norway is often looked upon as the world’s peace-nation
number one. Norway
has through the 20th century contributed to make peace in
parts of the world. I have often wondered where this interest for
comes from as peace-education as an academic discipline did not exist
When it all started is frequent
discussed, but for the sake of argument I choose to say it all started
Fridtjof Hansen’s engagement in the League of Nations and the
help he gave Russia,
in the 1920s.
Norway as a nation
was also active in the establishment of the UN in 1945, which resulted
its first Secretary General in Trygve Lie. Furthermore we can mention,
numerous projects, the Strømmestiftelsen’s peace-work in
Rød-Larsen and his team in the Middle-East and finally Erik
Solheim’s work in Sri Lanka. In
addition we have many private persons and organizations who daily does
enormous effort in peace-work in different parts of the world.
Today, Norway has many
independent institutions which are engage in peace related research, as
example CMI, FAFO, NUPI, PRIO and the Nobel institute but only one
institution who offer education in peace studies, namely the University
Internationally there are many
universities who offer peace studies. One example is University
of Bradford – England
has one of the oldest institutes of peace studies, and is where I
masters degree in 1999.
The peace studies at University of Bradford
were established in 1973. It
was members of the “Society of Friends”, better known in Norway
Quakers, who took initiative and was met with enthusiasm from the
who in return offered the use of a building and other facilities from
university. Today the peace study institute is a standard British
science department with a staff of 53 all together. It runs a
Bachelor programme, two Master programmes and a doctoral programme and
full publishing programme. In the academic year 2006/2007 the institute
students from more than 40 countries from all the continents.
In 2005 the
Guardian newspaper ranked the institute among the top ten Politics and
International Relations departments in England.
The University of Branford’s best know alumni is
probably Dr. Sa’eb Erakat who
was the Deputy
Head of the Palestinian Delegation at the Middle East Peace
who continues to be closely involved in the Middle East Peace Process.
John Hume came with this response in Oslo
after receiving the Nobel
Peace Prize in
Centre for Conflict Resolution has a worldwide reputation for its
practice in supporting peace processes in many of the world’s trouble
The Centre at Bradford is one of
seven that have been established by the Rotary Foundation at
universities in Japan,
Australia, Argentina, France the UK
and the USA.
Universidad del Salvador, Buenos
Aires, Argentina; University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia;
d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, Paris, France; International Christian
University, Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan; University of California-Berkeley,
United States of America (USA); and, Duke University and the University
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
The last eight years many Norwegian
students have found the path to Bradford
the universities peace studies.
In comparison Norway
first peace centre connected to a university in 2002 who offers a
programme in peace studies.
It was first after UNESCO’s declaration on an
international decade for peace (2000-2010) and the UN Hague Appeal for
conference in 1999 had take place that the enthusiasm for peace studies
visible amongst students and staff at the University of Tromsø
In 2000 the centre forEnvironment
and Development by Håkon Fottland
arranged the conference “Higher
Education for Peace”.
This conference demonstrated a lack of research-based and integrated
education, especially in Norway.
Both, Tove Bull (prof. at UiT) and prof. Ole D Mjøs (chairman of
committee since 2003) worked towards realizing their dream of a peace
and peace education at UiT. In 2002 their work was crowned with a grant
the Norwegian government which made it possible to start a master
from the autumn 2002.
By the Peace Centre – University of Tromsø,
the world’s most northern
earlier I have often wondered where the enormous interest amongst
academics, institutions and private persons for peace research and
and where it comes from as peace education was nearly non-existing
This has led me to
ask some questions, but I have not yet found all the answers.
–Why has not the environment
institutions like CMI, NUPI, FAFO and PRIO worked towards peace studies
academic discipline at Norwegian universities?
–Why is the interest for peace
research stronger at the
independent institutions than at the universities social science
–Is there a lack of
acknowledgement of peace studies as
an academic discipline at Norwegian universities?
–Have peace studies in Norway
its origin originally in the
The questions are
simple, but the answers are unfortunately not easy to find, but within
few months I hope to get a bit closer!