Peace Research Institute Oslo

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Peace Research Institute Oslo
Institutt for fredsforskning
Logo of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (Institutt for fredsforskning, PRIO).png
Formation1959; 59 years ago (1959)
FounderJohan Galtung
TypeResearch institute
HeadquartersOslo, Norway
The Peace Research Institute Oslo

The Peace Research Institute Oslo (Norwegian: Institutt for fredsforskning; PRIO) is an independent peace and conflict studies research institution, based in Oslo, Norway. It is regarded as the world's "oldest and most prominent peace research center."[1] It was founded in 1959 by a group of Norwegian researchers led by Johan Galtung, the principal founder of peace and conflict studies, who was the institute's first director. The Journal of Peace Research, the discipline's preeminent journal, is also published by the institute.

The institute is mainly funded by the Research Council of Norway and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and also receives funding from the Ministry of Defence, various international organisations such as the World Bank and the European Union, and private foundations. The institute has around 75 employees. PRIO headquarters are located in central Oslo, next to the headquarters of the Norwegian Red Cross.

History and governance[edit]

Johan Galtung, PRIO's founder and first director, is regarded as the principal founder of peace and conflict studies, and coined the term peacebuilding

PRIO was founded in 1959 by a group of Norwegian researchers led by Johan Galtung. The institute originally was a department of the Norwegian Institute for Social Research in Oslo and became an independent institute in 1966. It was one of the first centres of peace research in the world, and it is Norway’s only peace research institute.[2] The institute's director since 2009 is Kristian Berg Harpviken, with Inger Skjelsbæk as deputy director. Since 2005, the institute has been located in the former gas works building in central Oslo.

PRIO is an independent foundation, governed by a seven-member board. The board includes two PRIO employees, two members appointed by the Research Council of Norway, one member appointed by the Institute for Social Research, one by the University of Oslo, and one by the Nordic International Studies Association.[3]

Previous PRIO directors are, chronologically, Johan Galtung (1959–69), Asbjørn Eide (1970, 1980–81), Helge Hveem (1971), Nils Petter Gleditsch (1972, 1977–78), Kjell Skjelsbæk (1973–74), Ole Kristian Holthe (1975–76), Tord Høivik (1979–80, 1984–86), Marek Thee (1981–83), Sverre Lodgaard (1986–92), Hilde Henriksen Waage (const., 1992–93), Dan Smith (1993–2001), Stein Tønnesson (2001–09), Kristian Berg Harpviken (2009-2017), and Henrik Urdal (2017-present). After Galtung's resignation in 1969, the institute staff elected a leader for one year at a time. In 1986 this was changed to a three-year period, and again in 1993 to a maximum of two consecutive four-year periods.[2]

PRIOs first chairman of the board was Erik Rinde (1966–79), director of Institute for Social Research. He was succeeded by Torstein Eckhoff (1979–1986), Bernt Bull (1987–94), Frida Nokken (1995-2000), Helge Pharo (2000–2003), Øyvind Østerud (2004–06), Bernt Aardal (2007–2016) and Åslaug Marie Haga (2016 - present).[2]


The institute's purpose, as formulated in the statutes, is "to engage in research concerning the conditions for peaceful relations between nations, groups and individuals".[3] Researchers come from a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, including political science, sociology, anthropology, psychology, human geography, history, history of religion, and philosophy. Output from the research is primarily published as articles in peer-reviewed academic journals, anthologies or monographs, but also as more policy-oriented reports and papers such as PRIO's in-house series.

Approximately 15 percent of the institute's budget is made up of a core grant from the Research Council of Norway, and the remaining 85 per cent is funded on project basis.[4] The two largest project funders are the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Other funders include the European Union, the World Bank, and the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. In 2009, PRIO initiated the founding of the US based Peace Research Endowment.

In Oslo, PRIO hosts the Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers. This is a joint initiative of PRIO, the Norwegian Red Cross and the Norwegian Church Aid to help block the spread of small arms to areas where they are likely to be used in warfare, armed violence or human rights abuses.[5]

The staff comprises a core group of 40-50 full-time researchers and support staff. In addition, there are researchers with a part-time affiliation with PRIO, visiting scholars, interns and students. PRIO cooperates with the Australian National University and the University of Stellenbosch in offering master programmes in international studies.

Research centres[edit]

Centre for the Study of Civil War[edit]

From 2003 to 2012, PRIO hosted the Centre for the Study of Civil War, one of the original 13 "Centres of Excellence" in Norway. The director for the full 10-year period was Scott Gates.[6]

Cyprus Centre[edit]

The institute maintains a centre in Nicosia, Cyprus, known as the PRIO Cyprus Centre. Through its network, projects and dialogue forums, the PRIO Cyprus Centre aims to foster cooperation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and strengthen regional cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean at large.[7]


PRIO owns two academic journals, both edited at the institute and published by SAGE Publications: Journal of Peace Research, edited by Henrik Urdal and Security Dialogue, edited by Mark B. Salter.

PRIO Annual Peace Address[edit]

Initiated in 2010, the PRIO Annual Peace Address intends to create awareness, stir public debate and increase understanding about the conditions for peace in the world. Inviting researchers and other people with strong views on peace-related topics, the idea is to challenge the peace research community by suggesting new measures and bringing new perspectives on peace and war.


  1. ^ David P. Barash,Charles P. Webel, Peace and Conflict Studies, p. 26, SAGE Publications, 2013, ISBN 1483315827
  2. ^ a b c Forr, Gudleiv. (2009). Strid og fred. Fredsforskning i 50 år: PRIO 1959-2009. Oslo: Pax
  3. ^ a b PRIO statutes (2010), Retrieved 13 August 2013
  4. ^ "Income Statement", in PRIO Annual Report 2011 (retrieved 13 August 2013)
  5. ^ Ole-Petter Sunde (1999), "The Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers: West Africa and Beyond", in The Geneva Forum. Seminars on Small Arms (Volume 1), Geneva: The Geneva Forum (retrieved 13 August 2013)
  6. ^ Christian Lund & Else Lie (2012), "Supplying tools to counteract civil war", Research Council of Norway website (retrieved 13 August 2013)
  7. ^ PRIO Cyprus Centre website, Retrieved 13 August 2013

External links[edit]