Since it’s founding, ICU has been committed to fostering peace and reconciliation. Indeed, the “Plan for a New Regular University,” the document that first envisioned the establishment of ICU, begins by stating that the new university’s primary objective will be, “To contribute to the establishment of the peaceful nation and of the progress of the world culture through education based on the spirit of Christianity.” This dual commitment to peace and international concerns continues to guide ICU and the work of the Japan ICU Foundation.
Stemming from this commitment to peace and reconciliation, the Japan ICU Foundation, ICU and Rutgers University recently established a new program titled Rethinking Peace Studies. Rethinking Peace Studies revolves around a series of three seminars and one culminating conference to be held over a two-year period. The program’s two main objectives are to further our knowledge of peace and conflict studies and to catalyze new cross-disciplinary networks of academics and practitioners.
The seminars each revolve around a theme and will be held in Japan, the United States and Sri Lanka in 2014 and 2015. The first seminar was held in November 2014 on the ICU campus in Tokyo and focused on the theme of translation. The second seminar will be held in March 2015 in New York City and will focus on the theme memory and forgetting and the third seminar will be held in November 2015 at the University of Peradeniya in Kandy, Sri Lanka and will focus on the theme dialogue.
The first Rethinking Peace Studies seminar was held from November 13-16, 2014 on the ICU campus in Tokyo, Japan. 13 participants from 6 countries spent four days together critically examining Peace Studies through the lens of Translation Studies. Dr. Jeremiah Alberg (ICU) and Dr. Alexander Hinton (Rutgers University) moderated the seminar, which focused on reading materials distributed in advance to participants. ICU students, particularly graduate students in Peace Studies and Fellows from ICU’s Rotary Peace Center, observed the seminar and were also invited to comment and ask questions.
The participants in each of the three seminars will be invited to submit articles to the culminating conference, which will be held in Tokyo in 2016. A selection of these articles will then make up the chapters of an edited volume tentatively titled Rethinking Peace Studies. In addition, a collaborative blog, Rethinking Peace, will be launched in early 2015 with the participation of students from the partner institutions. Finally, a new peer-reviewed journal with a post-disciplinary approach to Peace Studies is also being planned.
We look forward to sharing more news from Rethinking Peace Studies as the program develops.