Marte Nilsen

Senior Researcher

Marte Nilsen
Mobile phone: (+47) 988 79 323
Twitter: @MarteNilsen

Research Interests

Marte Nilsen is a Historian of Religions and a Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). Her research focus is on the ethnicity-religion-nationbuilding nexus of political and violent conflicts in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on Myanmar and Thailand. Research interests include:

  • Civil society movements in peacebuilding and democratization
  • Societal transformation in conflict settings
  • The impact of traditional ideologies and cosmologies on political and violent conflicts
  • Buddhist-Muslim relations in Southeast Asia
  • The Rohingya crisis
  • The impact of aid and development policies on violent conflicts


Marte Nilsen is a Senior Researcher at PRIO. She coordinates the Research School on Peace and Conflict -  a joint initiative of the University of Oslo, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and PRIO. She also coordinates PRIO's Religion research group.


2012: Dr.philos., History of Religions, Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University.

2005: Cand.philol., History of Religions, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo.

2002: Cand.mag., History of Religions, Sociology, History, University of Oslo.

Language skills

Proficient: Norwegian, English.                                                                              

Intermediate: German, Thai.

Basic: Burmese, Chinese (Mandarin).

2012 Burmese language course (1 week intensive), SOAS University of London.

2010 Thai language training, intermediate level (3 weeks), Chiang Mai Thai Language Center.

2006 Chinese language (KIN 1110-1120 1 year), University of Oslo.


Work Experience

2012 – Present: Senior Researcher, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).

2017 – Present: Coordinator. Research School on Peace and Conflict.

2007 – 2012: Doctoral Researcher, Faculty of Humanities and Theology, Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University.

2006 – 2008: President, Attac Norway.

2005-2006: University board member, University of Oslo.


2016 Web studies program developer – Religion and Conflict, Bjørknes Uni. College.

2015 Main lecturer – Religion and Conflict, Bjørknes University College.

2015 Main lecturer – History of Religions, Norwegian School of Theology.          

2013 Guest lecturer – Religion and Politics, University of Oslo.

2010 Guest lecturer – Terror in the Name of God, Lund University.

2006 Guest lecturer – Religion and Globalisation, University of Oslo.




"Ingen er i stand til å fylle Kong Bhumibols sko", Aftenposten, 13.10.2016

"Are We Nearing an End to Buddhist Extremism in Myanmar?", Southeast Asia Globe, 02.11.2016

"Double Marginalisation of Myanmar's Ethnic Minorities", Myanmar Times, 26.04.2016

"Myanmar's Ethnic Minorities Marginalised More", East Asia Forum, 13.04.2016

"The Rise of Political Buddhism in Myanmar", Tricycle, 06.06.2015

"Buddhist Nationalism Threatens Myanmar's Democratic Transition", East Asia Forum, 12. 03.2015

"Norges balansekunst i Myanmar", NRK Ytring, 17.10.2014

"Farlig Folketelling", Dages Næringsliv, 08.10.2014

"Thailands skjøre demokrati" NRK Ytring, 28.05.2014

"Politisk krise i Thailand", Forsvarets forum Nr. 3, 2014

"Slaget om Bangkok", NRK Ytring, 17.01.2014

"Hva nå, Thailand?", Dagsavisen, 12.06.2010

"Opprøret i Thailand", Dagbladet, 16.04.2009

"Elitenes kamp", VG, 14.09.2008

Television and Radio appearances (sample)

Thai Politics:                      Nyhetslunsj, NRK 06.05.2019

Thai Politics:                      TV2 Nyhetskanalen, 06.05.2019

Thai Politics:                      NRK Alltid Nyheter, 25.03.2019

Thai Politics:                      Urix på lørdag, NRK P2, 23.03.2019

Thai Politics:                      Studio 2, NRK P2, 06.03.2019

Myanmar Politics:             Urix, NRK 2, 20.09.2017

Thai Politics:                      Ytring, NRK P2, 14.05.2017

Thai Politics:                      Norgesglasset, NRK P1, 13.10.2016

Thai Politics:                      Urix, NRK2, 12.10.2016

Thai Politics:                      Her og Nå, NRK P1, 12.08 2016

Thai Politics:                      Nyhetskanalen, 10pm. TV2 11.08.2016

Thai Politics:                      Nyhetsmorgen, NRK P2, 08.08.2016

Myanmar Politics:             Urix, NRK2 15.02.2016

Thai Politics:                      Dagsrevyen, NRK1, 18.08.2015

Myanmar Politics:             Urix NRK2, 15.03.2016.  

Myanmar Politics:             Nyhetsettermiddag NRK P2, 11.05.2015

Thai Politics:                      Norgesglasset NRK P1, 23.05.2014

Thai Politics:                      Dagsnytt 18 NRK2, 22.05.2014

Thai Politics:                      Nyhetsmorgen P2, 03.02.2014

Myanmar Politics:             Urix NRK2, 14.11.2012

Thai Politics:                      Aktuelt NRK2, 19.05.2010

Thai Politics:                      Dagsnytt 18 NRK2, 18.05.2010

Thai Politics:                      Dagsnytt 18 NRK2, 19.05.2010


PRIO started tracking events online in 2007. This listing is not complete. Past events may be mentioned in our news archive.


The following publications are specific to the PRIO CCC Centre. A more complete list is available at

All Publications

PhD Thesis

Nilsen, Marte (2012) Negotiating Thainess: Religious and National Identities in Thailand's Southern Conflict. PhD thesis, Lund Studies in History of Religions, Lund University, Sweden.

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Nilsen, Marte (2018) Religious Motivation in Political Struggles: The Case of Thailand's Patani Conflict, Journal of Religion and Violence 5(3): 291–311.
Nilsen, Marte (2011) The Spirit of a Heroine: Ya Mo - Spirit Reverence, Patriotism and Thai Buddhism, Modern Asian Studies 45(6): 1599–1625.

Book Chapter

Nilsen, Marte (2012) Military Temples and Saffron-Robed Soldiers: Legitimacy and the Securing of Buddhism in Southern Thailand, in Buddhism and Violence. Militarism and Buddhism in Modern Asia. London: Routledge (37–53).

Related pages