[ALFP Lecture Series / APYLP Joint Session]
Religion in Asia: A Possible Role for Peacebuilding

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  • Speakers:
    ● Fouzia SAEED (Social Activist; Gender Adviser, UNDP Pakistan)
    ● Jehan PERERA (Executive Director, National Peace Council of Sri Lanka)
    ● Somboon CHUNGPRAMPREE (Executive Secretary, International Network of Engaged Buddhists / Thailand)

    * Regrettably, Albert E. Alejo (Peace Activist; Assistant Professor, Ateneo de Manila University) has had to cancel his visit to Japan due to unforeseen circumstances.

  • Moderator: Tadashi OGAWA (Professor, Atomi University)
  • Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 6:30–8:30 pm (Doors open at 6:00 pm)
  • Venue: Iwasaki Koyata Memorial Hall, International House of Japan
  • Co-organized by: Japan Foundation Asia Center
  • Supported by: United States-Japan Foundation, MRA Foundation
  • Language: English / Japanese (with simultaneous interpretation)
  • Admission: Free (Reservations required: seating 180)
Over the years, we have witnessed countless clashes between different religious groups and attacks targeting a certain group of people, and as these tragedies keep happening, there is a tendency for people to develop a feeling of fear and hatred of “others” versus “us” and try to dissociate from others in any way possible. While religion has often been addressed as a source of conflict, however, it has also served as a catalyst to connect people in many parts of Asia. In this session, three peace activists from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand will share their thoughts on the ongoing conflicts afflicting those in vulnerable position, how each has worked to create mutual understanding among different groups of people, and what should be done to further foster peace in their respective country and region.


(Posted in order of presentation)

Fouzia SAEED
(Social Activist; Gender Adviser, UNDP Pakistan)

写真:フォージア・サイードDr. Saeed is well known in activist circles in Pakistan, working for the promotion of human rights, democracy and diversity, especially focusing on women and folk culture. For over 30 years, she has developed and headed several organizations and platforms, including Bedari, the first women’s crisis center in Pakistan, and a UNDP Gender Program Unit. Since the late 1990s, she has worked on the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace; her achievements include bringing changes to the work environment in the entire UN system. At the community level, she has helped empower the women of Pakistan suffering at the hands of religious fundamentalists, by illuminating positive dimensions of religion and culture including Sufi traditions. With a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, she is the author of Taboo! The Hidden Culture of a Red Light Area (Oxford University Press, 2001), which shed light on the red light area of Pakistan. In 2012, she received the Battle of Crete Award for her three-decade struggle for women’s rights. (ALFP 2010 Fellow)
(Executive Director, National Peace Council of Sri Lanka)

写真:ジハーン・ペレーラDr. Perera is the Executive Director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, a nonpartisan and independent peace advocacy group founded in 1995 to facilitate a people’s movement for peace and a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. He has also been on the boards of several other civil society organizations, including the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), and served as a member of a government-appointed advisory committee on national integration. He has written extensively on war and peace in Sri Lanka and is a regular political commentator with the Sri Lankan media, writing newspaper columns in English, Sinhala and Tamil. He obtained a Doctor of Law degree from Harvard University, and has received international peace prizes from institutions in Japan, India and Sweeden. (ALFP 2011 Fellow)
(Executive Secretary, International Network of Engaged Buddhists)

写真:ソムブーン・ジュンプレームプリートMr. Chungprampree is a Thai social activist working for peace and justice in Asia. Since 2010, he has served as Executive Secretary of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), an organization established in 1989 to promote mutual understanding, cooperation and networking among inter-Buddhist and inter-religious social action groups. His activism began while he was at university where he got involved in social movements, especially those focusing on environmental justice. Since 1997, he has held different positions with leading civil society organizations both in Thailand and Asia, and also served on the boards of several international and national foundations. He is the editor of the Seeds of Peace journal issued three times a year. Under the Thai-based Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), his focus has been on grassroots efforts to empower civil society in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.
Tadashi OGAWA
(Professor, Atomi University)

写真:小川忠Since entering the Japan Foundation in 1982, Dr. Ogawa has been engaged in international exchange for the enhancement of mutual understanding between Japan and other countries. He has contributed to the development of ALFP since its start-up in the mid-1990s. Prior to joining Atomi University, he served as Director General at the Japan Foundation in New Delhi as well as in Jakarta, and Manager Director for the Planning Department at the Japan Foundation HQ. His research covers international cultural exchange policy, contemporary cultures of Southeast and South Asia, and comparative religion and sociology. He has a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University, and has written several books and articles on international politics, particularly focusing on the Islamic world.
*The Asia Leadership Fellow Program (ALFP) is a joint program of the International House of Japan and the Japan Foundation that seeks to create a close, personal and professional network of public intellectuals in Asia who have demonstrated outstanding leadership ability and are committed to civil society beyond their respective backgrounds and professional arenas through collaborative activities and discussions.
*The Asia Pacific Young Leaders Program (APYLP) connects participants of young leader programs across the region to work together to envisage a common future for this new world. I-House provides a “home in Japan” where young leaders across various programs and stakeholder groups can periodically gather to discuss and shape the future of the region.