He pursues peace – in memory of Olof Palme

Every year, in memory of Olof Palme, the Swedish Research Council issues a call for the Olof Palme Visiting Professorship, which focuses on areas of importance for the understanding of peace in a broad context – areas to which Olof Palme had a life-long commitment. This year the holder of the professorship is Jason Czarnezki.

Jason Czarnezki, Professor of Environment Law.

Jason Czarnezki is Professor of Environment Law at Pace University in New York, USA. The focus of his research is on environmental and social justice, the interaction between civil society and sustainability and the impacts of environmental harm on peace and security.

– I am deeply honored to have been named the 29th holder of the Olof Palme Visiting Professorship by the Swedish Research Council, and thank the Faculty of Law at Stockholm University for serving as my host, Jason Czarnezki says. In my view, peace, security, and social well-being depend upon achieving the three pillars of sustainability—environmental, social and economic welfare—all items championed by Palme.

Jason Czarnezki has always been interested in the environment. He believes that we, in light of the values championed by Palme and more recent environmental activists like Greta Thunberg, must broaden our notion and understanding of global peace and security in a manner that includes sustainability and ecological resiliency in the Anthropocene.

– In her 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, Wangari Maathai of Kenya recognized that in order to “reduce conflicts and poverty and thereby improve [ ] quality of life,” society must “protect our environment.” My research will endeavor to identify links between environmental protection and global peace and security by providing examples of how climate change and pollution result in, for example, climate migration, food insecurity, and an undermining of civil society, Jason Czarnezki says.

The challenge for Jason Czarnezki´s research will be in determining how law and policy can account for these large scale disruptions. He hopes his research will elevate public discourse around the importance of racial justice, climate justice, economic justice, food justice, and environmental justice.

– The negative externalities of climate change and environmental degradation such as conflict and insecurity due to unsustainable development will be borne by the least fortunate, Jason Czarnezki says. My research will also consider how law and policy can create a new economic model that lowers consumption and decouples economic growth from production of brand new goods in the interest of promoting all three pillars of sustainability.

Olof Palme supported workers’ rights, advocated for the decolonization of the developing world, believed in programs that improved public health and protected women’s rights and opposed apartheid. On February 28, it is Olof Palme´s Memorial Day.

Olof Palme Visiting Professorship

The purpose of the Olof Palme Visiting Professorship is to give universities the opportunity to develop a subject area by inviting an internationally prominent researcher as a visiting professor for up to one year.

The Professorship was established by the Swedish Riksdag in 1987 in memory of Sweden’s former prime minister, Olof Palme. Every year, the Swedish Research Council issues a call and the universities applies by nominating internationally prominent researchers in areas of importance for the understanding of peace in a broad context – areas to which Olof Palme had a life-long commitment. The research may cover areas such as international politics, peace and conflict research and the comparison of social institutions.




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