The Toda Peace Institute (formerly called the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research) is an independent, nonpartisan institute committed to advancing a more just and peaceful world through policy-oriented peace research and practice. The institute commissions evidence-based research, convenes multi-track and multi-disciplinary problem-solving workshops and seminars, and promotes dialogue across ethnic, cultural, religious and political divides. It catalyses practical, policy-oriented conversations between theoretical experts, practitioners, policymakers and civil society leaders in order to discern innovative and creative solutions to the major problems confronting the world in the twenty-first century.
The Toda Peace Institute's current research and practice foci are:
The Toda Peace Institute in Tokyo and the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies of New Zealand held a colloquium "Challenges to Regional and Global Peace in the 21st Century" on March 28 in Tokyo, Japan, to bring together leaders of international think tanks and civil society organizations concerned about stability and security in the new world order.
Northeast Asia and the rest of the world in the 21st century face multiple challenges precipitated by rising nationalism, growing inequality, marginalization and alienation from political processes. Its most graphic expressions in 2016 were the British decision to withdraw from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Although unpredictable, Trump is in charge of the most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world and has proposed a budget increase in US military spending of $54 billion of which 11% will be for the modernization and expansion of nuclear weapons.
The group agreed that the world is moving into a period of significant geopolitical unpredictability. The election of Donald Trump is one factor, but underlying causes include a breakdown of the social contract between people and their governments, characterized by Brian Finlay of the Stimson Center as a growing sense of "inequality and hopelessness."
Colloquium participants outlined creative opportunities to address the causes of conflict and fragility worldwide:Read more...
The Alliance for Peacebuilding; Eastern Mennonite University-The Center for Justice & Peacebuilding and the Toda Peace Institute co-sponsored a two-day conference, held in Harrisonburg, VA (November 5-6, 2016) on "The Ecology of Violent Extremism." The meeting brought together leading theorists and practitioners, with extensive experience in the field of peacebuilding with an emphasis on negotiation, governance, democratic processes, intergroup dialogue, and the use of media to address key drivers of violent conflict, to discuss an ecological or systems approach to violent extremism (VE). An ecological approach to violent extremism views the problem of VE in a broader context than the mainstream media and political analysis. Counter terrorism strategies generally offer simplistic examinations of violent extremism by focusing solely on the individuals and groups using terror, without examining the broader factors driving or mitigating violent extremism. This project aimed at reframing the traditional approaches to VE, which focus almost exclusively on the role of violent counterterrorism. Participants discussed the role of education and inclusive peacebuilding processes to address the broader national and global factors that promote radicalisation and motivate violent political behaviour.
Chaiwat Satha-Anand, Senior Research Fellow of the Toda Peace Institute together with Omar Farouk from the Center for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS) at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) organized a policy workshop on "Engaging Extremism with Muslims' Nonviolence" in Penang, Malaysia, September 19-22, 2016. The workshop was facilitated by Kevin Clements and Paula Green. They designed an experiential process to enable Muslim researchers and practitioners to understand violence from a Muslim perspective and then reflect on how justice might be pursued by Muslim nonviolent actors. Participants explored cases of extremism and deadly conflicts within the Muslim world, and then explored the relationship between Islam and nonviolence and how this might mitigate the violent effects of extremism. The organizers will be producing a book or a journal issue on the subject based on selected papers in 2017. On September 21, 2016, CenPRIS and the Toda Peace Institute organized a public forum with selected conference participants, members of the public and the policy community on "Violent Extremism: Islam and Nonviolent Policy Alternatives." This forum generated lively discussions between local intellectuals, members of the media, diplomats and representatives from the policy community.
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