The First NARPI Summer Peace Training
(director, Transcend Japan / regional convener, Transcend Northeast Asia / member, Transcend International)
The Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI), as a civil society peacebuilding group representing voices from throughout Northeast Asia, was born out of the following idea. In this region where the Cold War still remains, there is a critical need for the implementation of measures which will prevent future military action and loss, and for peaceful resolution for historical and political conflict.
NARPI is administrated by Korea Anabaptist Center (Seoul), and is steered by Korea Peace Foundation (Seoul), GPPAC Northeast Asia (Seoul), Maritime State University (Vladivostok), Blue Banner (Ulaanbaatar), Peace in China (Nanchong), Taiwan Grassroots Alliance for Peace (Taipei), Global Campaign for Peace Education (Tokyo), Peace Boat (Tokyo), Nonviolent Peaceforce Japan (Tokyo and Osaka), World Friendship Center (Hiroshima), Peace Missions Center of Japan Mennonite Christian Church Conference (Sapporo), Transcend Japan (Osaka) and more individuals from other parts of NEAsia. It is also supported by Mennonite Central Committee (Asia/NEAsia) and Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (Mindanao). NARPI is proud of its “shared ownership” and each member has responsibility of taking part in it in different ways.
The Civil Society Organisations above strongly believe that the region needs substantial and qualitative peace education and training among peace activists, researchers, community leaders and students of the region. NARPI offered its intensive two-week training for the first year, from 15th to 29th August, 2011. It took place in Seoul and DMZ, Korea, and all the participants and facilitators stayed/lived/worked together for the whole course period. NARPI offered 3 courses for 5 days for twice (from 16th to 20th and from 24th to 28th), and a field trip in between (from 21st to 23rd). Courses were: 1) Understanding Conflict and Peace, 2) Theory and Practice of Peace Education, 3) A Framework for Restorative Justice, 4) Historical and Cultural Stories of Peace, 5) Trauma Awareness and Response, and 6) Negotiation, Mediation and Dialogue, and the field trip was consisted of a visit to “Nanum House (House of Sharing)” and DMZ tour.
NARPI Steering Committee is hoping to hold the second training next year, 2012, hopefully in Hiroshima. In this way, NARPI training will happen at a different venue every year, so participants will have chances to visit different parts of the region. In addition, the local people who host NARPI training will have chances to meet with so many varieties of people from the region. In other words, NARPI is seeking to be a space for collaboration and transformation among people in Northeast Asia; a deliberate forum for building relationships and connections between different peoples and nations. Training itself becomes a tool and process of interaction and knowledge about each other, and trust among regional civil societies will be hopefully deepened gradually.
Even a brief glance at recent international news reveals deep tensions and animosities between countries in Northeast Asia, most notably between North and South Korea in March 2010 and between China and Japan as recently as September 2010, among others. It is our hope that current and future leaders in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict resolution will be among those present for our two one-week courses. We also hope that the summer courses will result in new ideas for collaboration and action that will transform local communities, and eventually bring regional change.
For more information, please have a look at http://www.narpi.net/.