Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik

An independent international centre for advanced studies


In memoriam: Johan Galtung. First Director General of the IUC

Due to his widely recognised academic activities in Peace Studies that coincided with the mission of the IUC, Johan Galtung was appointed as the first IUC Director General by the IUC Executive Committee in April 1973. He held that position from 1973-1976 and made crucial contributions to the organisation of the new institution, by putting the IUC on the academic and political map of Europe. Writing in a publication from 1973, Galtung expressed his vision for the IUC stating that… “the courses of the Centre will be post-graduate, inter-disciplinary (even trans-disciplinary) inter-national (even trans-national) in their orientation and composition both of staff and students; and they will often be issue- or problem-oriented. They are to be intensive and in general presuppose little distance between staff and students. Our goal is to organize courses at a high academic level, which will be original, creative, provocative and pluralistic in respect of orientation. For the Centre aims to include the study of topics in which there is no firm, established doctrine as to what constitutes solid knowledge, and the only way of achieving objectivity in such situations is to invite participants with different views.”[1]


Galtung was one of the central organising directors of different IUC’s courses: Theories of Development, Conflict and Peace; World Future Models; Future of Education; Macro-history and Western Civilization; Development, Hunger and Natural Resources; and Transnational Universities that took place from 1974 to 1977. For those programmes he invited to Dubrovnik numerous colleagues from the field, including students from different countries, backgrounds, and disciplines, linking practice and people with the theoretical bases of the IUC’s academic life. Some of his colleagues initiated new programmes that are still a part of IUC’s academic offerings.


He was a very productive researcher, launching points of view that often were considered to be highly provocative. However, the field of peace studies and conflict resolution never stopped to be relevant. This legacy is carried on in the work of the Inter-University Centre as well. Not only are the IUC courses still running with the same organization that Galtung suggested, but the topics of peace and conflict are still among the permanent offerings within the IUC academic programme.


Johan Vincent Galtung was born on 24 October 1930 in Oslo. He received the cand. real degree in mathematics, and the degree in sociology from University of Oslo. Galtung’s main academic interest has been peace and conflict studies. In 1959 he founded and was the first director of the Peace Research Institute at Oslo (PRIO) whose main mission is to carry out research on ways for peaceful relations between states, groups and people. He also launched the Journal of Peace Research in 1964. When leaving the position at PRIO in 1969 he started teaching at University of Oslo becoming the first Professor of Peace Research, establishing thus peace and conflicts as a study programme. He remained at University of Oslo until 1978, and later carried on teaching in different universities, from Berlin to Hawaii. Throughout his life, he received numerous honorary degrees and professorships from different universities across the world. Galtung died peacefully in his sleep on 17 February 2024 in Oslo.


[1] Johan Galtung in Inter-University Centre of Post-Graduate Studies in Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik: Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik, 1973, pp. 7-8.