The Online Journal for
Why is there so much violence? Is it futile? Will humanity ever find peace? Is violence inherent to human nature? These are important questions that now have educational and informative responses.
The Online Journal of Peacebuilding and Nonviolence discusses the peace theory of Professor Johan Galtung that provides a substantial response to these questions. The Journal then seeks to describe the United Nation’s attempt to implement his ideas in the field. The Online Journal then builds on these ideas by covering their relationship to related topics such as nonviolence, the UN program for a Culture of Peace, UN programs for development, individual psychology and new developments in the science of measuring peace.
Galtung's Theory of Peace and Violence
Johan Galtung, the father of modern peace education, and a retired professor from the University of Oslo, has some powerful ideas about peace and violence that have contributed to advancement of peace in United Nation’s programs.
Here we find further work on Galtung’s theory with a focus on the requirements for peace to last. The concept of Entropy is important but sometimes confusing. Basically, our understanding is that it suggests the importance of being able to skillfully manage crises, conflict and chaos.
Are Galtung’s ideas about peace realistic and applicable in human communities? The UN has sought answers to this question since 2005 and has come up with some very intriguing lessons.
Here we focus on the UN's effort to implement Galtung’s ideas. This chapter on Peacebuilding also provides the beginning stages of our discussion of modern Nationalism. Nationalism emphasizes the needs of the individual nation-state above everything else. We hope to then describe how peacebuilding might help with the negative impacts of this hate and fear-based form of xenophobic isolationism.
After 15 years or so of trying to implement peacebuilding in the field, the United Nation’s idea of Sustaining Peace is a very practical development. This approach combines the goals of peacebuilding to make peace last, with the practical efforts of peacekeeping, to keep violence from breaking out again in the short term. In fact the UN has found that Peacebuilding and peacekeeping are usually interdependent - you cannot have one without the other.
Nonviolence is at the core of peacebuilding, and is the goal and the guiding principle for all peace action. It’s not just flowery talk, but a very real thing that is worth learning about and choosing.
The study of peacebuilding suggests that there are five levels of nonviolent action, each one leading to the next. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi suggests that nonviolence is actually a lifestyle and worldview.
Culture of Peace
The idea of a culture of peace was held with great regard by both Galtung and the United Nations. The importance of creating a culture of peace is understood by great minds, yet this theory often leads to the question, can cultures be changed?
Creating a culture of peace is challenging because cultures are so deeply rooted. In addition to defining what a culture of peace might look like, we also have here some discussion of attempts to create it.
The UN and civil society seeks to understand the secrets of making peace last. In the meantime, academics have developed methods to scientifically measure peacefulness. One important method developed in Australia seeks to create a scientific profile produced by measures of 8 socio-economic factors. This complex profile hopes to show how to make peace last and how to prevent violence in a given situation. The collaboration of these groups has yielded some very exciting results.
In this section, we will provide papers and videos describing and linking to the many attempts to measure peacefulness being developed and tested by civil society, academia, government and business across the world. This is an important step in increasing the effectiveness of peacebuilders to create peace that lasts.
Psychology and Peacebuilding
Peacebuilding is applied to human communities and nations, but what about the individual in turmoil? With Psychosocial Rehabilitation, we find a psychological approach to the individual that parallels and complements peacebuilding in important and thought-provoking ways. The question is important - how can psychotherapy fit in with peacebuilding and complement in constructive ways the effort to create inner lasting peace?
The work of social workers is the basis of social and sustainable development. They strive to create justice, equality, and recovery from crisis for all. This is a remarkable parallel to the work of peacebuilders who strive to create peace that lasts. It truly reflects the teaching of Johan Galtung who insisted that for peace to last, there must be equality, justice, cooperation and inclusiveness across every segment of society.
These papers, articles, and videos illustrate the importance of combining environmental protection, peacebuilding, and inter-linkages between the sustainable development goals. General issues are covered, as well as what is happening in particular countries.
An important aspect of eliminating violence is making weapons harder to obtain and safer to store. Therefore, this chapter will focus on the intricacies of disarmament and its connection to peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Disarmament is crucial to creating and maintaining lasting peace.
The papers, articles, and videos in this chapter describe the complexities and diverse issues related to the disarmament of small arms and light weapons (SALW).
A stable society cannot function without peace. Commerce, education, and recreation simply cannot function where there is chaotic violence. It is no surprise that the efforts toward development and prosperity are themselves important to helping peace last. They give people hope and something worth living for.
Updates and Announcements
Our teams have been working tirelessly to build you this journal! We are not close to being done! This journal will be continuously added to and updated. New articles and videos will be added weekly as well as new sections are in the works.
- May 27th: An expert section for each chapter will be added in the fall 2021
- May 20th: A new article will be added to the Journal every week!