Towards a More Peaceful World?


Are we moving towards a more peaceful world? The question might seem naive. The daily news picture informs us of wars and terror incidents around the world. But the larger armed conflicts are limited to a small number of countries and the increased attention to them is in itself a sign that violence can no longer be swept under the rug. The probability of being killed in war or genocide has decreased remarkably in recent decades.

On 8 November, a discussion on the topic of “Towards a More Peaceful World?” was held between Nils Petter Gleditsch (Research Professor at Peace Research Institute Oslo), Håvard Hegre (Dag Hammarskjöld Professor), and Margareta Sollenberg (Researcher at the Uppsala Conflict Data Program). Johan Brosché (Researcher at Department of Peace and Conflict Research) moderated the discussion.

The discussion built on Nils Petter Gleditsch’s recently published book Mot en mer fredelig verden? [Towards a More Peaceful World?]. The book provides an overview of the development of the international conflict map. Gleditsch argues that violence is slowly becoming outdated as a tool in conflicts, internal as well as international and paints a hopeful picture of what he calls a social democratic peace, built on democracy, international cooperation, economic integration, and social and economic non-discrimination. The book discusses several caveats to the author’s optimistic view of the future. The emerging peace may be broken by the emergence of new major power conflicts, stronger religious clashes, increased inequalities, or climate change and other environmental hazards. All these challenges must be taken seriously, but they are nevertheless unlikely to reverse the trend towards more peaceful relations in the long run.

The event was organized by Pax et Bellum in cooperation with the Department.

For more information, see Gleditsch presentation on the topic.  

View the discussion