IIPE 2012: Japan

LOGO_japan_bigReport on the 2012
International Institute on Peace Education

August 11-19, 2012

“Educating for Human Security and Survival: Emergencies in Ecology, Energy, Economy”


PDFIIPE 2012 Flyer


The 2012 International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) was held at the National Women’s Education Center (NWEC) near Tokyo, Japan, from August 11-19, 2012.  The Institute was organized in partnership with the National Peace Academy (home of the IIPE secretariat) and the Global Campaign for Peace Education Japan (GCPEJ)cooperating with a consortium of other national organizations invested in furthering peace education in Japan including the Society for Building a Culture of Peace.


“Educating for Human Security and Survival: Emergencies in Ecology, Energy, Economy”

Image_scalesJapan’s recent coping with the environmental disasters of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and the consequent nuclear meltdown resulting in ecological health crises and economic emergencies are relevant issues for people everywhere. In light of these concomitant crises, the IIPE 2012 peace learning community inquired into human security possibilities for addressing current global emergencies in ecological imbalance, energy reconfiguring, and gapping economic inequities.  Human security and sustainability are fundamental to peace as  “a long-term and gutsy project…[that] requires social conditions that foster individual and societal well-being…surfaces differing perspectives and needs…[and] is an opportunity to rethink and reshape the prevailing status quo.”(1)

IIPE participants engaged in an inquiry on how peace education and participatory learning communities can contribute to the human security and integrity of societies—regional, local and global; and what values, capacities, skills and practices can support protection, prevention and provision in emergencies.  The IIPE program comprised thematic and interrelated participant-led presentations, workshops and discussions with some special emphasis on learning from the Japanese experience.  Sub-themes such as human security, the abolition of nuclear weapons, gender imbalance, capacity building, youth participation, and Japan-U.S. and Japan-Asia relations and their potential contributions to positive alternatives to the present interstate security system were incorporated into the learning exchange.

Image_mapScience educator Dr. Willard Jacobson asked, “What are our societal responsibilities? What responsibilities do we have for those who have less than enough? What responsibilities do we have to for the generations to come?” (2) These questions can help formulate human security alternatives to the dominant security concepts and policies that effect emergency prevention, protection and provision for current global emergencies.  Peace, human well-being and ecological sustainability are also under severe threat from multiple current wars and militarized conflict zones, the arms trade and proliferation of nuclear weapons, and rampant violence committed by state and non-state actors.

By challenging predominant assumptions of mainstream security thinking, IIPE 2012 opened the space to reconsider national, global and human security from a foundation of core principles of peace: principles of human dignity and well-being, human rights and social justice, diversity and inclusion, non-coercive forms of social and political order, ecological responsibility, and democratic participation.  IIPE founder Dr. Betty Reardon points out that a newly evolving security system discourse would necessitate processes that engage human imagination to redress real world problems (Reardon). (3) “Our work is inspired by a vision of a transformed global society, a human future for all the Earth’s people and a healthy future for our shared planet.” (4)

The understanding of human security in facing emergencies—both natural and man-made—is further informed by the National Peace Academy’s principled understanding of peace as “the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.” (5) This core principle is derived from the civil society document, the Earth Charter, which “posits a cosmopolitan imperative of peace as right relationships and a holistic pedagogy of peace.” (6)

Japan’s recent crises have shown the world that relationship of Earth and human society must be thought of bi-directionally—that humans must take care of the environment and natural resources of the Earth that sustain human society. At the same time, human society must provide preventative, protective and responsible provisions in the face of climate change and natural disasters.  IIPE 2012 offered participants an opportunity to deliberate on these peace education issues in a community of inquiry, interpretation, shared reasoning, and learning. Multiple voices were engaged in conceptualizing, strategizing, and practicing an alternative way that might allowing all peoples to realize the full range of their humanity.

Notes and References for Further Study

(1) Opotow, Susan, Gerson, Janet & Woodside, Sarah (Fall, 2005). From moral exclusion to moral inclusion: Theory for teaching peace. Theory into practice, 44(4), 303–318

(2) Jacobson, Willard (1994). The Big Ideas of Ecology that Every Peace Educator Should Know.” In Betty A. Reardon & Eva Nordland, Eds.  Learning Peace: The Promise of Ecological and Cooperative Education
1994 (p. 98)

(3)Reardon, Betty (2004). Human Security: Building a Culture of Peace. Presentation, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey.

(4) Reardon, Betty A. & Nordland, Eva, (Eds.).  Learning Peace: The Promise of Ecological and Cooperative Education (1994) p.” p. 40.

(5) Jenkins, Tony, The National Peace Academy: Modeling the Principles and Processes of Peace
The statement is derived from the Earth Charter http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/content/pages/Read-the-Charter.html

(6) Snauwaert, Dale.  In Factis Pax 2 (1) (2008): 88-130. Available at

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