Conflict Studies Founder Galtung Meets Mason Students

Posted: November 27, 2013 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: December 2, 2013 at 6:59 am

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Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

“You need to stop using the word ‘post-conflict,’” Johan Galtung said early on in a two-hour brown bag discussion with students and faculty of George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR). “I hate that word. There is a difference between conflict and violence.”

Galtung’s lunchtime appearance on Monday at Mason’s S-CAR was one of two presentations the renowned Norwegian sociologist made at the Arlington Campus during a week of activity in Washington, D.C. Galtung is acknowledged as the principal founder of peace and conflict studies, and Mason S-CAR professor Richard Rubenstein called him “my hero” during his introduction.

Galtung brought an academic’s viewpoint to the discussion, illustrating his peace resolution theories on a SMART Board in mathematical formulae (he’s a mathematician as well as a peace scholar). He described what he taught 2,000 professors of peace in Mexico, a country taking the lead in domestic progress, as “equality times empathy, divided by trauma times conflict.” He also said of the “20 countries operating fairly well in the world, what they have in common is they never had money. Money corrupts.”

In fact, the bottom line, says Galtung, is that governments forget to emphasize the “haves and the have-nots” when attempting to solve conflicts on any scale. 

Write to Buzz McClain at bmcclai2@gmu.edu

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