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Group.png PRIO   Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Logo of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (Institutt for fredsforskning, PRIO).png
FounderJohan Galtung
HeadquartersOslo, Norway
TypeResearch institute
Sponsored byNorway/Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Peace Research Institute founded by the legendary Johan Galtung in 1959. In recent years ousting researchers who question the legitimacy of US/NATO wars, instead theorizing on "just wars".

The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) is based in Oslo, Norway. Founded by the legendary Johan Galtung in 1959, it has changed drastically over the years, from a think tank developing remarkably innovative peace solutions, to, at least since year 2000, an institute theorizing on "just wars" to “open up for democracy” , thus creating a “democratic peace” that would ensure peace in the future (since democracies don't go to war against each other).

Over the decades, PRIO’s participation in international peace research conferences and Pugwash conferences in the 1980s and 1990s has been replaced by participation in US political science conferences.

Own words

The Institute's website reports that “The institute is a non-profit peace research institute (established in 1959) whose overarching purpose is to conduct research on the conditions for peaceful relations between states, groups and people. The institute is independent, international and interdisciplinary, and explores issues related to all facets of peace and conflict. To remain at the cutting edge of peace research, PRIO is both proactively involved in identifying new trends in global conflict, and oriented toward formulating and documenting new understandings and responses.” [1]

Just War

In the early 1990s, PRIO’s later director (from 2009) Kristian Berg Harpviken had been the leader of the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee in Peshawar (in Pakistan near Afghanistan), where aid organizations in the 1980s lived side by side with intelligence services and radical Islamists.[2]

Since year 2007, PRIO has recently been increasingly engaged in the issue of “just war”, in which the Journal of Military Ethics is central. The journal has been edited by Henrik Syse and Greg Reichberg (who also sat on the PRE board). Their thinking is based on Thomas Aquinas’ idea of “just war,” a concept also significant in President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech for 2009.

PRIO had also established the Peace Research Endowment (PRE) in the United States. The board consisted of President Bill Clinton’s Chief of Central Command, General Anthony Zinni. He had led the bombing of Iraq in 1998 (Operation Desert Fox). In parallel with holding the board position in PRE, he was chairman of the board in the USA for perhaps the most corrupt weapons manufacturer in the world, BAE Systems.

The chairman of the PRIO-established PRE was President Clinton’s Under Secretary of the Army Joe Reeder, who had helped fund Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and had served on the board of the US National Defense Industrial Association. He had held a central legal position for a lobbying company that in 2011 marketed the rebels’ Libya War.

Forcing out Ola Tunander

Staff included professor Ola Tunander, who worked there for almost 30 years. In 2013, PRIO asked him in an e-mail to accept “quality assurance measures [that] relate to all printed publications, including shorter texts such as up-eds [sic]”, uniquely among staff being assigned a person to check his work. Tunander stated "This commitment to control everything I wrote, was so strong that it can only be explained by the pressure from the Americans. A candidate for the position as National Security Adviser to President Ronald Reagan, in no uncertain terms, let me know that what I had written “would have consequences” for me.[3]

"In the spring of 2015, PRIO’s management had decided that I should retire. I said that this was not up to them and that I had to talk to my union, NTL. My immediate superior then replied that it did not matter what the union said. The decision about my retirement had already been made. Every day, for a full month, he came into my office to discuss my retirement." Thanks to union support, he got an agreement, where he would retire in May 2016 in exchange for continuing as Research Professor Emeritus at PRIO.

“Researchers who question the legitimacy of US wars seem to experience being ousted from their positions in research and media institutions.”
Ola Tunander (6 March 2021)  [4]


Norway/Ministry of Foreign AffairsA significant donor to NGOs and planning organizations. Many of the recipients dovetail with NATO objectives like regime changes and controlling the narrative.


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
File:PRIO Annual report 2009.pdfreport2009The 2009 annual report.


Documents sourced from PRIO

TitleTypeSubject(s)Publication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Democratic State v Deep StateessayDeep politics
Deep state
1 January 2008Ola TunanderAn excellent introduction to deep politics. By clarifying the real role of the Secret Intelligence Services and the policy agenda they under firm control in most Western 'Democracies' (especially the UKUSA nations), it demonstrates the irrelevance of the party-political masquerade.
Document:The use of terrorism to construct world orderpaperDeep politics
Operation Gladio
Strategy of tension
War on Terror/Purposes
10 September 2004Ola Tunander
File:Isenberg Private Military Contractors.pdfpaperPrivate military company
January 2009David Isenberg
File:PRIO Annual report 2009.pdfreportPRIO2009The 2009 annual report.
File:The Use of Terrorism to Construct World Order.pdfpaperDeep politics
War on Terror/Purposes
9 September 2004Ola TunanderA Paper presented at the Fifth Pan-European International Relations Conference (Panel 28 Geopolitics) Netherlands Congress Centre, The Hague.
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