Peace and Disarmament

Back to listJul 5, 2006

Toda Peace Institute and Simon Fraser University Cosponsor HUGG II International Conference in Vancouver, Canada

HUGG II Conference

From June 25-27, the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, in collaboration with Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, sponsored "Alliance of Civilizations for Global Peace: Human Security, Regional Conflict and Global Governance," a HUGG II International Conference, in Vancouver, Canada. Some 50 scholars hailing from 23 countries gathered to discuss crucial global issues from various dynamic perspectives.

In a message read by Toda Institute Director Majid Tehranian, founder Daisaku Ikeda expressed his support for the transition from "dialogue among civilizations" to an "alliance of civilizations" announced by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July last year in response to a proposal from Spain and Turkey. He stated that "[t]he keys to an alliance of civilizations are cooperation, mutual prosperity and coexistence" in which civilizations work together to sustain world peace cognizant of the growing interdependency of human society and the need for mutual respect for one another's principles, cultures and traditions. He set his hopes on the participants to hold meaningful exchanges that culminate in inspiring vision and policy proposals for a peaceful 21st century.

Dr. Joseph Camilleri, director, Centre for Dialogue at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, delivered the keynote address titled, "The Politics of Empire and the Culture of Dialogue." Referring to a shift to a new world order in the contemporary age, he emphasized the importance of firmly establishing a "culture of dialogue," explaining that dialogue with others provides a vehicle for self expression and is a process of deep transformation and self-reflection. He also said the "dialogue between civilizations" of the East and West is an experiment in multiculturalism that attempts to harmonize differences and commonalities, and is a challenge bearing possibilities for establishing peaceful unity on a global scale.

Next, research project team leaders presented their respective topics prior to break out groups, as follows.

"Building Bridges for Digital Opportunities: ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and Youth Partnership for Human Development" (Mr. Dmitry Epstein, The Human Network, Tel-Aviv, Israel): Address the inequality in access, including literacy and technical skills and know-how that have created a digital divide, and find ways for ICT to serve developing and underprivileged groups within and across societies.

"International Conflict, Religion and Culture: Implications for Southeast Asia and Australia" (Dr. Joseph Camilleri): Explore how significant middle powers in the Asia-Pacific region--Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia--have responded to the events of September 11 and their aftermath, including the "war on terror," interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and issues surrounding the increasingly visible role of Islam in domestic and international politics.

"Global Obligations for Food and Nutrition Security" (Dr. George Kent, professor of Political Science, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii): Clarify international obligations regarding the human right to adequate food.

"Peace Journalism: A Contribution to the World's Media Treatment of Conflict in the Early 21st Century" (Dr. Dov Shinar, founding dean of the School of Media Studies at the College of Management, Israel): Put forth possible contributions of the media to conflict management and peacemaking, peacekeeping, and/or peace education efforts.

"Development and Human Security" (Heloise Weber, lecturer in International Relations and Development Studies at the School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland, Australia): Address contradictions of the current global development agenda between multilateralism and complex-multilateralism.

On the final day, each research group summarized their discussions. Professor Robert Anderson of Simon Fraser University served as moderator for a plenary session encapsulating the Toda Institute's research activities of the past ten years and possible activities for the second decade.

Participants at Toda Institute's "Alliance of Civilizations for Global Peace" conference at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada