Japan University Consortium for Peace and Human Security in Asia
In 2012, RSIS signed an agreement for academic exchanges with the Japan University Consortium for Peace and Human Security in Asia, with the objective of promoting cooperation in the fields of education and academic research. Ph.D. students from RSIS participated in the Okinawa and Hiroshima Short-Term Study Programmes on Peace and Human Security in Aug 2012 and August 2013 respectively.”RSIS provides various opportunities for students to broaden their horizons by attending study programs overseas. I have the pleasure to be selected by RSIS to participate in the short study program on peace and human security held in Okinawa. The program, I could say, is the most impressive and interesting program I have ever attended during my study life. Before I came to Okinawa, what I had known about it was that it was a beautiful Japanese island. This program, which covers lectures on human security and field trips to forests, aquarium, and museums, gives me an opportunity to profoundly understand culture, history, and tradition of this amazing island. Particularly, related to human security, Okinawa program also provides me an opportunity to come to understand the current Asia Pacific security issues more deeply. I have learned that the Japan-U.S. security treaty allows continued presence of U.S military forces in the Japanese territory, including Okinawa. The U.S. has continued to hold and use the bases secured under occupation after WWII. The ‘marginalization’ of Okinawa by Japan and the ‘colonial relationships’ on it maintained by Japan and the U.S., which was the status before Okinawa’s reversion to Japan, continue to exist today. At some bases, the U.S. military activities cause various social and environmental problems. All these knowledge I learned in the vivid classes of the study tour is deeply rooted in my mind. To summarize, the Okinawa program is interesting, instructive, and enlightening. In addition, it accommodates students from various Southeast Asian countries. By attending this program, we have made new friends and enlarged our academic network, which is very important for our future study and research.” – Yao Lixia, 2nd year PhD student
“The Okinawa Short-term Study Program has provided an opportunity to understand the Japanese perspective of a range of issues, such as the US-Japan security alliance and regional security in East Asia, Japan’s perception of the rise of China, the role of human security in Japan’s foreign policy, and the controversies over the US military bases in Okinawa. This is a good exercise to enhance communications between Japan and Southeast Asia regarding these issues. In particular, the basing issue was central to the discussions throughout the program Okinawa’s. Based on personal interviews with local academics and activists, I produce an in-house publication for the RSIS NTS Centre, which examines the relationship between traditional security and non-traditional security challenges through the case of Okinawa. The need to strike a balance between traditional and non-traditional security is also applicable for Southeast Asian countries.” – Gong Lina, 2nd year PhD student
“The Hiroshima Short-Term Study Program has provided a fantastic opportunity for attendees to understand the value and spirit of peace and human security from Japan’s side. Rising from the defeat and devastation after WWII, Japan has taken the lead in promoting peace and human security in its foreign policy and international relations. This short-term program spanning almost two weeks helped demonstrate how peace and human security has been perceived and the future prospective of changing international society. Conducted in several places, this program was devoted to lectures about history, values, and the changing international environment Japan is facing in regards to peace and human security.
The course opened my eyes in various ways, not only from the new knowledge I gained from the lectures, but also through the on-site witness of testimonies and documents of the atomic bombs. It also helped me to understand Japan’s commitment to the promotion of peace and human security in a broad historical, cultural and political background. I desire to share with my friends and classmates the messages from lectures I attended, stories I listened to, and speech I engaged with. As nuclear weapons play such an important role in foreign policy and international relations, majoring as a student in international studies, it is very beneficial for me to understand the perspectives and history from people who actually experienced it. My perspective on nuclear weapons has changed after learning the useful information provided by this program. I am a peace-loving person, but I do not think I could have ever comprehended the destruction brought by nuclear weapons or the emotional aspect without the detailed explanation of lecturers or without listening to testimonies of survival. Additionally, conversations with lecturers and organizers, as they were always ready to share, helped me a lot in understanding the fickle Sino-Japan relations.
I believe that a short-term study program like this is absolutely recommended for any college student. The exposure to first-hand information from the Hibakusha (the survivors of atomic bombs) in Hiroshima and attending the Peace Memorial Ceremony is a must do in our lifetime. This Hibakusha Spirit will be shared by every participant and taken back to their own countries and the Hiroshima study program will always stay with them.” – Gong Xue, 2nd year PhD Student
“The structure of the programme was excellent. It combined lectures, discussions, and field trips to significant cultural sites in and around Hiroshima. The classes were varied in their content. Some focused on Japan’s foreign policy and post-World War II history, while others centered on Japanese culture and religion. I was exposed to a wide range of information on Japanese society. The visits were informative and complemented the learning in the classroom. We went to the JMSDF Museum, the Yamato Museum, the Coast Guard Academy, and Miyajima Island. As someone who has a keen interest in naval affairs, I was particularly interested in the maritime-themed sites.
The faculty were comprised of scholars from Hiroshima University and the Osaka School of Public Policy. They were very knowledgeable and helpful during our stay. In addition to delivering lectures in their area of specialisation, they made themselves available for consultation in preparation for our individual presentations. The mix of students was quite amazing. They were from all over Southeast Asia and included participants from Aceh, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore. They came from diverse academic backgrounds and were very collegial. We all left the programme feeling as if we made many new friends for the future.
The overall experience was fantastic. The programme was extremely well-organized. In addition to learning a lot, we sampled Japanese cuisine and gained a better appreciation of the past, present, and possible future of Japanese society. We exchanged substantive views on how to promote peace and human security in Asia based on knowledge acquired from our home countries as well as new ideas gained over the course of the programme.” – Daniel Katz, 2nd year PhD Student
Last updated on 18/09/2014