Archive for the ‘From our own world’ Category

Living longer, but less meaningful lives?

By Johan Galtung
On UN Day and his own 86th birthday

The last one hundred years life expectancy has increased by about 25%-from near 80 to near 100-in some countries. But, instead of increasing playful childhood, education, work and retirement by 25%, the age of retirement has moved much less than the age at death. That deprives masses of older people with experience and wisdom of productive work, of being useful, meeting others constructively; reducing them to being playful–bridge or golf as case may be–and just keeping alive.

Homo sapiens as homo ludens not homo faber. Longer, but emptier lives.

A crime against humanity if there ever was any. However, with two clear remedies: continue working self-employed with pension as salary, or find meaning in dedication to something beyond oneself, some cause, volunteer work. That should be planned well in advance before entering a “career” that peaks before, or at, retirement; the rest being downhill even steeply.

Life is expansion from a fertilized egg to a mature human being and contraction to ever narrower space around oneself till time is up. Western history has many narratives about expansion from some little point to a full-blown empire and contraction to ever narrower spaces. The two model each other with empire expansion giving meaning to life, and contraction, death of empires making life meaningless, with waves of massive suicide ending the Habsburg, Nazi, Apartheid empires. Hitler, in 1940 the head of the largest European empire ever, in 1945 only of his bunker, may have been a suicide model. But it was deeper.

We are now living the accelerating history of the end of the US empire, Read the rest of this entry »

The Future of Europe: The capacity to integrate, for dialogue and to generate

By Maired Maguire

“War is illegal and immoral, it has to end and it can be ended.’

Speech at the international meeting “Thirst For Peace”, Assisi September 18-20, 2016. Promoted by Community of Sant Egidio and Diocese of Assisi and Franciso Families.

Dear Friends,

I am happy to be here at this International Meeting and I would like to thank our hosts, for their invitation to attend. I have always been inspired by the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare, whom I believe are Icons of Christian Gospel Peace and Nonviolence.

Francis the man of action, steeped in empathy and love for all, and Clare a woman of prayer, whose love of God led her into the depth of mysticism and peace.

Francis and Clare lived in a time of violence and war, yet they choose to live the nonkilling/nonviolence of Jesus. Francis as a youth fighting in his local military, knew well how to wield a sword, yet he choose to follow the command of Jesus to Peter, when he told him to put up his sword and healed the Soldier’s ear.

He left the military to live in poverty and service, and together with Clare, and his followers refused to take up arms. Francis and Clare, in the midst of much feudal violence, choose to follow the Christian nonviolence manifesto ‘the Sermon on the Mount’.

For many people in Europe and the world, challenged by growing violence and injustice, the lives of these two great 13th century Saints gives us hope and inspiration.

Pope Francis, following in the steps of St. Francis, gives us all hope as he challenges us to work for the abolition of the death penalty, ending poverty, the arms race, nuclear weapons, and environmental destruction, etc.,

However, I believe we need a clear renunciation of the ‘just war’ theory (a phoney piece of morality in the words of the late Fr. John L. McKenzie) and I add my voice to those appealing to Pope Francis for an Encyclical on Peace and Nonviolence, calling Christians to rejection militarism and war and to follow a Peace theology in keeping with the teachings of the Nonviolent Jesus.

This would give great Spiritual leadership not only to Europe but to Humanity.

I believe Europe today Read the rest of this entry »

TFF turns 31: Flashbacks and vision

By Jan Oberg

It’s 31 years today – September 12 – that Christina Spännar and I founded TFF and gathered experts and friends from many walks of life and world corners and set out to make a difference.

1985 were in the midst of European peace and anti-nuclear activities and a moment of history when one could begin to feel the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact cracking, fragmenting and giving way to something new.

Whatever survives this long under very very difficult circumstances of independence and freedom in our world must have some qualities.

During these more than three decades, we’ve been witnesses to world history in international affairs such as the end of the first Cold War with the fall of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the genocide in Burundi and Rwanda, NATOs expansion as well as 9/11, the War On Terror and – sadly – all the failed wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria to just mention a few.

But we have also seen the world order change, the trend towards a multipolar world, the betterment after the end of formal colonialism, people living longer and better, the rise of non-Western powers, the good sides of globalisation and modern communication technology etc.

We’ve done research – everything we do is research-based – public education, academic courses, mediation in major conflicts such as Kosovo and a lot of outreach: Social media, videos, media commentaries etc. And we still remember how we sent out newsletter that we had typed on thin stencils and manifolded on a stencil printer, the pages sorted and put into envelopes with address labels. The kids in our street helped us and got some good food (or child labour!) and we could do 1100 in one day in the basement and bring them to the post office the next. Then came the fax machine…

Those were the days.

Today about 10.000 people all over the world get TFF PressInfo several times a month; while it does take a couple of hours to edit and format, they go out in one batch within a couple of minutes at the click of a button. And we are later told who and how many have opened them or clicked on their links!

TFF was among the first academic institutions to actively use the Internet, Read the rest of this entry »

Nominate someone for the Livia Prize for nonviolent conflict-resolution

The Livia Foundation was initiated by The Danish Centre for Conflict Resolution with an aim to enhance its efforts to directly address conflicts in societies through nonviolent interventions – in Denmark and beyond.

The name LIVIA refers to the olive twig, an ancient symbol of ‘approaching peacefully’. Also, at the end of the biblical flood, a dove returned to Noah’s Ark with the twig from an olive tree to signify ‘end of troubles’.

The Livia Foundation aims to create hope by promoting nonviolent conflict resolution in the world:

• making visible all the courageous, nonviolent efforts in evidence on all continents;
• supporting projects and individuals who demonstrate that severe social conflicts can be efficiently resolved through a wealth of ideas and dialogue;
• inspiring politicians, media, organizations and the general public to apply constructive, nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution
• creating conflict preparedness, locally and internationally Economy and organization

The LIVIA Foundation has raised app. DKK 700.000 or well over US$ 100.000. The bulk of these funds is spent on awards and other events, while DKK 250.000 is tied up as the foundation’s statutory capital in the Merkur Bank.

The capital comes from personal donations, from the author fees of the book ‘Conflict and Contact’, from foundations and from the Centre for Conflict Resolution.

The Livia Foundation is a civic, non-political, non-religious, non-profit initiative. We work to promote new ways to support creative, constructive nonviolent conflict resolution.

The foundation is headed by its Board assisted by a large number of active persons, who are particularly active around the prize awards. All are volunteers.

More about Livia and who has been awarded its Prize earlier here.

The worldwide examples of nonviolent action are admirable, but only rarely do they reach the front pages of the media.

This is where the Livia Foundation is working to make a difference:

We will make the life-affirming ideas and solutions known to a larger public, by drawing attention and giving a voice to people working within creative conflict resolution.

Else Hammerich, TFF Associate and former TFF Board member, has been in the forefront of both the Centre’s and the Livia Foundation’s establishment and TFF is proud to help promote knowledge about it and identifying the best possible candidates for the Livia Prize.

See at the end of this presentation how you may nominate someone for this prestigious Prize. Read the rest of this entry »

John Avery’s CV

John Scales Avery

John Scales Avery received a B.Sc. in theoretical physics from MIT and an M.Sc. from the University of Chicago. He later studied theoretical chemistry at the University of London, and was awarded a Ph.D. there in 1965.

He is now Lektor Emeritus, Associate Professor, at the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen.

Fellowships, memberships in societies
Since 1990 he has been the Contact Person in Denmark for Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Member of the Danish Peace Commission of 1998. Technical Advisor, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (1988- 1997). Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy, April 2004-.

You’ll find a lot about this eminent scholar at Wikipedia. Avery is also a leading peace researcher and activist – “Since 1990, Avery has been the Contact Person for Denmark the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. In 1995, Avery was part of a group that shared in the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in the 1990s in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

In 1998, Avery was elected to the Danish Peace Commission. During the years 1988-97, Avery was the Technical Advisor at the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe. In 2004, Avery became the Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy.

In his usual humble and plain style John tells the story of his life – his personal life, his scholarly life and his peace life – here.

Dr. Avery seems to have ben writing day and night throughout his life – here is his amazing list of books, chapters and articles on world affairs.

In early 2016, Irene Publishing – run by TFF Associates Jørgen Johansen and Majken Jul Sørensen – published Avery’s Collected Essays as well as The Need For A New Economic System.

John joined TFF as TFF Associate in March 2016.

TFF PressInfo # 353: “Transnational Affairs” – TFF launches new online “flip” magazine

Lund, Sweden, January 18, 2016

Today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, TFF launches its new online “flip” magazine, “Transnational Affairs”.

Social media posts may soon be forgotten, too far down your feed to find.

We now curate them – 10-15 a day – at “Transnational Affairs” and include other important debate articles, blog posts, analyses and videos you’ll only find here.

That’s why you should click “follow” on this magazine – and Like it too – a treasure trove of quality materials for the concerned citizen, media person, student and researcher.

We curate “Transnational Affairs” to help you understand – easily flipping – what happens in our troubled world and what could be done to make it much better.

“Transnational Affairs” reflects the diversity of TFF’s work and themes – such as peace by peaceful means, nuclear issues, Iran, Syria, Burundi, the Balkans, non-violence, UN matters, world order change, the weakening of the U.S. Empire, refugee and why and how war can be replaced by more intelligent methods.

“Transnational Affairs” is based on our 30 years in business and our commitment to truly independent research and public education.

Furthermore, it’s a completely new and exciting way of browsing on your tablet or phone – you “flip” the magazine’s content.

Learn, be inspired, act – begin here. There are already 560 articles…

TFF PressInfo # 351: The Nobel Foundation taken to court on the Peace Prize

Lund, December 10, 2015

On the day of the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony at Oslo City Hall

To whom it may concern, including the media

We know – and Alfred Nobel knew – how devastating war and arms races are, and how little security we get for all the money we spend on military forces.

The campaign to reclaim the Nobel Peace Prize is first and foremost a campaign to revive the idea that global peace requires global cooperation on disarmament and replacing the law of force with the force of law. Every day more and more of us see, from the Middle East warfare, from the refugee crisis, and many other chilling reminders, the mandatory urgency of a change in world politics.

Alfred Nobel decided to give one fifth of his fortune for a prize to promote disarmament and resolution of all conflicts through negotiations and legal means, never through violence.

Can such a prize, with a so clearly stated goal, be turned to serve the opposite idea and be given again and again to recipients who promote arms races and believe in militarism and war?

This question will soon be answered, after Mairead Maguire, Jan Oberg, Davis Swanson, and Lay Down Your Arms took the case to the Stockholm District Court on Friday 4th of December 2015. Here is the full text of the summons.
and all other relevant information is available at the Nobel Peace Prize Watch.

Test case: the award to the European Union in 2012

The court case will test one of the most obvious violations of the Nobel idea Read the rest of this entry »

Obituary – Dietrich Fischer 1941-2015

By Christina Spännar & Jan Oberg

Our dear friend and TFF Associate since 1985, professor Dietrich Fischer, died today, October 18, 2015.

We met Dietrich through another dear friend Johan Galtung and, together with then West German lieutenant-colonel Wilhelm Nolte, Dietrich became the first scholar-in-residence at TFF in Lund in 1986. That lead to Fischer, Nolte and Oberg’s “Winning Peace. Strategies and Ethics for A Nuclear-Free World published in 1989.”

The two scholars came and worked for periods at TFF, went back home to re-write and then back to Lund – no emails and Dropbox at the time. We met, worked, ate, drank, did excursions and played with our children together. That’s how we did it.

And here’s the local newspaper from January 8, 1986:

Wilhelm Nolte, Jan Oberg and Dietrich Fischer

Dietrich was a genius in defensive defence thinking, Read the rest of this entry »

TFF 30th Anniversary Benefit Event

Lund, Sweden, September 5, 2015
Updated September 5 and our apologies if you’ve received this before.
We want to catch all and miss no one over all these years.

Dear friend!

We are happy to invite you to the TFF 30th Anniversary Benefit Event !
September 11-12, 2015

Live Lectures by videostream
Exciting lectures on world affairs and peace over two days – See program below.

This is not an invitation to visit the foundation in person.
It is an online, live video streamed event that you will be able to follow from anywhere in the world
Here is the link and it’ll also be shown via Facebook, Twitter and on our website.
And all the lectures will be available later as videos on our own video channels.

Open House at the foundation
Saturday September 12 at 14:00-17:00
It’s at Vegagatan 25 in Lund, Sweden – deadline for your registration September 7.

1. Lectures on-site with live streaming

We’ll shortly tell you the links where you may see it all and where videos will later be available.

Lecture program

Friday September 11

Live, video streamed:

September 11: Alternatives to the devastating War On Terror – Jan Oberg

TFF 30 Perspectives – TFF Associates and Board on the better world we dream of – And cheers!

Saturday September 12

Live, video-streamed 10:00-18:00

Iran And the Nuclear Issues – Gunnar Westberg

Integration – Why and how? Example: Afghan Youth In Sweden – Christina Spännar, Sweden

Nuclear abolition is necessary and possible – Gunnar Westberg, Sweden

West and East: Ukraine and New Cold War? – Jan Oberg

Human Rights And War Crimes – Jonathan Power, UK/Sweden

Women, Self-Esteem and Violence – Annette Schiffmann, Germany

Yugoslavia – What Should Have Been Done? – Jan Oberg (in Memoriam Håkan Wiberg), DK/Sweden

Media and Peace – Sören Sommelius, Sweden

Burundi’s Crisis And Possible Ways Out – Burundi expert

2. Open House hours 14-17
Buffet, drinks, coffee and tea, cakes and other sweets.
You must register your visit by September 7 at the latest at or call 0046 738 525200.

3. Peace with peaceful means
The day is devoted to the – ongoing – struggle for ”peace by peaceful means“ as the UN Charter puts it. Gandhi said that the “means are goals in-the-making”. To realize that noble goal remains the mission of TFF. Today we show you how and promote all related activites with the help of social media and new video technologies.

4. This is a Benefit Event – Your support to TFF please!

TFF is unique in being totally independent of government and corporate funds. It’s people-financed. No one related to TFF has a salary; we’re all-volunteer.
This provides for truly free research and permit us to be critical and constructive and practise our freedom of expression. Not everyone can boast that today!
Wars, nuclear and conventional arms, bombing raids and occupations etc. are financed by your tax money. Sadly and unfairly, no tax funds go to realise the UN norm above.

We think that people who believe that peace is better than violence should also pay something to the research, education and activism in favour of that UN norm.
If you can come to Lund on our big day or sit somewhere following our rich lecture program, we urge you strongly to make a donation. Every day over 30 years, TFF has given the world something useful.

You can do it right in the middle of our homepage – click the “Give” button or under the headline “Support” in the right-hand column where many options exist, including PayPal. It easy, fast and secure!
Cash – but no cheques – can also be donated at the event.* *

Thank you so much!

5. Videos
We’re proud to present the first two short videos – 3 more to come – in which the founders talk about various aspects of 30 years in the service of peace on the basis of questions asked by board member Annette Schiffmann. Watch, comment and subscribe!

The First

The Second

6. Brand new Online Magazine
The announced online magazine launched to mark our Anniversary is now here!

“Transnational Affairs – TFF Magazine for conflict-resolution, non-violence and peace-building”

Excited as we are, we’ll be back to you soon with more details!

Yours truly

Christina & Jan

* If you are able to come in person, you must register to or call 0046 738 525200 by Tuesday September 8 at the latest.

* * This does not apply to you if you have already made a donation in 2015.

Our 30 years with peace – And what happened to world peace? Part II

By Christina Spannar and Jan Oberg, TFF founders

Part 1 here

TFF was established on September 12, 1985. We think that it’s 30th Anniversary is a fitting occasion to reflect on what has happened in the big world and in our lives with the foundation.

It is also a piece of Lund’s research history in general and of peace research and education in particular.

Part 2

Weak aspects of TFF

• Being outside many networks and institutions – it has become more and more difficult to influence the world if you are small, independent and don’t accept governmental and corporate funds.

• A perception that the interest/commitment of TFF is out of sync with the sentiments of times, of the Zeitgeist. In spite of that we maintain the fundamental belief that peace is essential and that we can forget about the rest if major wars or nuclear exchanges take place.

• Too ‘academic’/theoretical to forge deeper, permanent links with public opinion and movements.

• Too ‘radical’ or ‘idealistic’ to be interesting to governments and most mainstream media.

• A constant very hard work load – resting on a small international group and on the founders in Sweden – vulnerability also in the perspective of us having gotten 30 years older.

• The struggle for funds getting more and more tough and we are much more vulnerable than, say, ten years ago. Being all-volunteer, we still have to pay the bills for what enables us to do things: the Internet, computers, travels to conflict areas, insurance, bank fees, fund-raising, phones, sending out mails, using social media, etc. 
The generosity of yesterday has been replaced by a ”stingy” attitude of being entitled to get things free in the affluent Internet-based society. This attitude implies that it is not my responsibility to finance peace, somebody else does (and the somebody else is never me). Few citizens seem to recognise that they are the taxpayers who de facto finance all the weapons and wars. 
The far majority of those who support us are idealists without particular means – while wealthy people for peace a far and few between.

TFF’s stronger sides

• We are still here, operating with amazing TFF Associates around the world who share the commitment to ‘peace by peaceful means’.

• We have remained faithful over all these years to the original ideals, not succumbing to go mainstream/politically correct to achieve more funds or appearing acceptable to the masters of war, i.e. government – neither by the way in Sweden nor Denmark. Read the rest of this entry »


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