The United Nations University (UNU) Global Seminars are aimed at deepening the understanding among students and young professionals in Japan of global problems that are the concern of the United Nations. Annual seminars are held at seven locations throughout Japan. The Okinawa session will be held for the fourth time in 2002 under the theme "From Conflict to Peace."
As traditional inter-state warfare has increasingly been replaced by wars led by particular ethnic or cultural groups under specific economic and/or political conditions, the nature of disputes and the ways in which the international community is expected to contribute to the resolution and prevention of armed conflicts worldwide have changed greatly during the past couple of decades. Moreover, with the shifting focus of actions aimed at maintaining peace from merely securing ceasefire conventions between nations to taking on the responsibility to reconstruct war-struck countries after armed conflicts have been put to an end, the participation of civil society, including NGOs, besides military personnel, is becoming more and more significant. In other words, peace cannot be accomplished by simply bringing an end to a dispute. Quite on the contrary, peace can only be realized when it is based on the experience and certification of constructing a politically and socio-economically stable environment, which has proven to be an indispensable factor in the immediate aftermath of a war.
On the basis of discussions led by experts from Japan as well as abroad, this seminar aims to offer participants an opportunity to consider the roles of the United Nations, national governments and civil society to prevent the instigation of wars and to help build new nations that are based on social righteousness and human rights. Against the historical background of Okinawa as one of the greatest battlefields of the Second World War, which turned into an immense tragedy for humankind, it is our hope that this seminar may spur participants to reflect upon the relationship between war and peace from a historical viewpoint.
As participants to this seminar will lodge together for four days, they will be easily able to engage in discussions and active exchange with scholars and practitioners from Japan and abroad, including United Nations employees, who will provide lectures from a global perspective. As is the case with UNU Global Seminars held elsewhere in Japan, the lectures will be given in either English or Japanese. A profound understanding of both languages is therefore required. Interested members of the public are also cordially invited to attend the keynote speeches, during which simultaneous interpretation will be provided.
Aimed to serve as a forum for you to engage in an active exchange of ideas and debate sessions with distinguished scholars, the seminar will give you an excellent chance to deepen your knowledge and to sharpen your analytical and discourse skills. If you are interested in issues of global concern or plan to pursue an international career, you are most welcome to participate. We are eagerly awaiting applications from Okinawa Prefecture as well as other regions of Japan.