Glenn D. Paige 1929-2017 – Pioneer of studies of nonkilling and peace

By Chaiwat Satha-Anand,
TFF Associate

At the 16th International Peace Research Association (IPRA) conference held in Brisbane, Australia in 1996 under the guidance of Ralph Summy with the theme” Creating Nonviolent Future”, Glenn D.Paige began his keynote address titled: “To Leap Beyond Yet Nearer Bring: from war to peace to nonviolence to nonkilling” by recounting another IPRA meeting held in Yokohama, in 1980.

At that meeting, a question was raised as to whether it would be possible for IPRA to take up the subject of “nonviolence”.

A distinguished European researcher responded in the negative saying that nonviolence “would discredit peace research”.

Six years later in 1986 at the IPRA conference held in Sussex, Theodore Herman convened what I believe to be the first IPRA nonviolence commission. Later in 1988 at the IPRA meeting held in Rio de Janeiro, Herman asked Paige to help convene the next nonviolence commission. Paige became the convenor of the nonviolence commission in the 1990 IPRA conference held in Groningen, Netherlands. [Papers from this conference were published in Gandhi Marg Vol.14 No.1 (April-June 1992)]

I attended the first IPRA conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1988. Glenn Paige was my teacher and mentor. He taught the course “Nonviolent Political Alternatives” at the Department of Political Science, University of Hawai’I in the late 1970s.

I learned from him how nonviolent actions could indeed be alternatives to violence; and that “nonviolence knowledge” is well grounded, empirically and otherwise. I did my University of Hawai’I doctoral thesis titled “The Nonviolent Prince” with him as my advisor, kind and critical, creative and traditional at the same time.

It was Glenn who initiated me into the world of IPRA as a peace researcher. He has done so much for peace research community especially by strengthening the nonviolence commission through his global contacts at a time when it badly needed such effort.

Among other things, his legacy to the peace research community will be his life works – his courage to critique his own celebrated book; and to venture into uncharted knowledge territory.

In 1977, Paige wrote a nonviolent critique of his own work: The Korean Decision (1968). Such critique by the author of his own book published in American Political Science Review (1977) was unprecedented since the journal began in 1906.

He wrote his seminal work – Nonkilling Global Political Science, first published in 2002 to the neglect of people in the discipline of political science, but has since been translated into more than 30 languages worldwide. He founded the Center for Global Nonkilling (CGNK) in 2007.

On Sunday January 22, 2017 at around noon, Glenn D. Paige passed away in Honolulu, under the loving care of his wife Glenda Paige, after struggling with illnesses at the age of 88.

His is a life that has given so much with his firm belief that the world could change for the better; and that killing could end with the advent and advances of the nonkilling knowledge.

Seen through Walt Whitman’s poem, “Leaves of Grass”, nonkilling knowledge – Glenn Paige’s song – is

“Not words of routine this song of mine
But abruptly to question,
to leap beyond yet nearer bring.”

Chaiwat Satha-Anand
Bangkok, January 23, 2017

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