Author: Kristian Berg Harpviken

Kristian Berg Harpviken
Kristian Berg Harpviken is the Director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) since 2009. A long time expert on Afghanistan and the surrounding region, Harpviken holds particular competence on wartime migration, transnational movements and mobilization, regional security and the dynamics of civil war.

Blair’s Global Vision – and Lacking Knowledge Base

Tony Blair took the decision to take part in the military intervention in Iraq in 2003 more or less on his own, and based it on very scant knowledge. Are there reasons to fear the same happening again? The British Chilcot Commission has released a crushing verdict over former PM Tony Blair’s decision to stand… Read more »

A Muted Voice? Religious Actors and Civil Society in Post-2001 Afghanistan

In general, religious actors are not perceived as possible contributors to civil society. In Afghanistan, where religion permeates society and politics, and where religious leaders and networks bear considerable influence, this is particularly problematic. There is a need for a thorough rethink of what civil society is, and the role of religion within it. While… Read more »

Peace Processes Need Women

International peace processes are dominated by men and men’s perspectives. In general the approaches used have changed little in many decades. The focus is invariably on bringing the conflicting parties to the negotiating table, where their claims to power and strategic positions are renegotiated and defined. Amnesties for brutal attacks on civilian populations have been… Read more »

What if the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Snowden?

Edward Snowden’s nomination for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has stirred controversy in Norway and internationally. Is Snowden a (US) traitor or a (global) saviour? Will Norway allow him to receive the prize, resisting US demands to arrest and hand him over? Along with previous years’ nominations of Julian Assange and Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, Snowden’s… Read more »

A New Afghan Spring?

Sitting in Kabul today, watching the Presidential inauguration on local television, it is difficult to say whether we are seeing a new Afghan spring or the onset of a disaster. After weeks and weeks of quarrelling, the two main presidential contenders settled on a power-sharing formula: Ashraf Ghani is the new president, while Abdullah Abdullah… Read more »

The Taliban are an Organized Fighting Force

A new UN report blames the Taliban for a sharp rise in violence against civilians. The Taliban are an organized fighting force. They combine a relatively strong central command with a networked structure in which each of the various factions operate with considerable independence. Establishing control over certain territories has been a main rationale for the… Read more »

Business and Peace

These days, the Business for Peace Symposium is happening in Oslo. Business leaders from all over the world are gathered to discuss how business can contribute to peace and hinder conflict. Some of the most distinguished guests have arrived from Cyprus, namely Manthos Mavrommatis, Honorary President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and… Read more »

Time for change in the Nobel Peace Prize Committee

It is time for the Norwegian Parliament to change its practice and appoint a Nobel Peace Prize Committee that includes both experts and internationals. The Nobel Peace Prize is considered one of the world’s strongest symbols; the prize shapes the public agenda and gives voice to peace activists all over the world. Members of the prize-awarding Nobel Committee… Read more »