Wednesday, August 15, 2012

1000 Paper Cranes

As an offering to the people of Hiroshima affected by the A-bomb, NARPI participants and facilitators are making 1000 paper cranes, to present to the Children's Memorial in the Hiroshima Peace Park on Saturday.  Many of us are learning how to fold cranes for the first time, so it has been a great community-building exercise as well!

Our growing crane collection
For those who don't know the significance of making 1000 paper cranes in Hiroshima, we invite you to read the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who after being exposed to radiation from the bombing at a very young age, developed leukemia, and began making1000 paper cranes, a Japanese tradition believed to grant a wish, long-life, or health  Since her death, the paper crane has become a symbol of hope and peace for atomic bomb survivors, and especially for the children who were affected by the explosion.

Since 1000 paper cranes is a lot to make, even for NARPI, many participants have begun making cranes in their classes.  The Trauma Awareness and Healing class has been making many cranes, finding the exercise helpful in honestly discussing emotionally sensitive issues.
In Trauma Awareness and Healing, participants are exploring the social-psychological-physical-spiritual processes of responding to deep personal loss, pain, and suffering in settings of protracted, traumatic events, including conflict. In addition, the course examines recently developed healing approaches of individuals and communities moving from violence to trauma healing and transformation. Participants are expected to be able to come up with a re-entry plan that would integrate a trauma healing program to their work and community. This year, the course is focusing specifically on various traumatic events impacting daily life based on Northeast Asia context. 

Tonight is NARPI's cultural night - a chance for participants to share songs, dances, poems, and music from their home regions.  Check back tomorrow for photos and updates of this exciting event!

As always, if you have events, posts, photos, or videos you would like to share, please send them to Submissions are always welcome! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

The First Day

The NARPI Summer Training in Hiroshima is well underway! On Sunday, 42 participants, facilitators, and staff gathered at Aster Plaza Hotel for the NARPI Summer Training opening ceremony. The ceremony opened with a beautiful performance by professional singer, Haruki Tamura.

Guest Haruki Tamura wowing NARPI during the opening ceremony

The song, Let Us Hold the Sun in Our Hands, was performed in both Japanese and English and spoke of hope and courage - a very appropriate and powerful beginning for NARPI.  The ceremony continued with introductions of all participants and brief addresses from Director Jae Young Lee and World Friendship Center Chairperson Michiko Yamane.

Ryu Hanjoo during first Conflict and Peace Issues class.

Then classes began!  Participants met with their facilitators for the first time, and began honing their peacebuilding skills.  In Critical Understandings of Conflict and Peace Issues, participants were introduced to the definition and contextual interpretations of conflict & peace. Focusing on enhancing thier understandings of conflict & peace issues in the local and regional context, participants dived into dialogues and discussions with others from different regions and backgrounds. This week, participants will explore possibilities for creative and collaborative ways of conflict resolution and peacebuilding, through discussion, creative exercises, and case studies.
NARPI in the World Friendship Center. 
For more information about WFC and their history,
please visit their website at

That night, we all took a walk together to visit NARPI's partner in peacebuilding, the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima and here from directors, Larry and Joann Simms.  Though it was a bit of a tight fit, we all squeezed in to hear about World Friendship Center's history, mission, and continuing peacework.  On the walk there and back, we all spent time getting to know one another outside of class.  

Finally we all returned home to rest and ready ourselves for the next day of NARPI - after all, this was just the beginning of the training and all of the fun and peacework of NARPI. More exciting things are still to come, so check back regularly for updates on our training here in Hiroshima!  As always, if you have events, posts, photos, or videos you would like to share, please send them to Submissions are always welcome!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

NARPI Announcement

For those of you who might have missed it, here was the announcement we sent to all NARPI partners, past participants, and friends. As always, if you have questions or submissions, please send them to! 

Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) 
Hiroshima, Japan 
August 12-24, 2012

The second annual Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) Summer Training is taking place from August 12 to 24 in Hiroshima, Japan. The two-week training will not only equip participants from around the region with peacebuilding skills for their work at home, but will also help to connect organizations and communities from across the region and beyond. Approximately 40 participants from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and Taiwan will join the training, including students, NGO staff, education practitioners, religious leaders and more.

NARPI Director Lee Jae Young saw the need for this kind of training after his experience studying peacebuilding in the United States. “Northeast Asia has a long history of military exercises, but a rather short history of peace education. In this region, peace education, conflict resolution/transformation, and frameworks for conflict prevention are still new terms,” he shares. “Therefore NARPI is a small but important effort to transform the culture of militarization into a culture of peaceful coexistence and cooperation as a region.”

The NARPI Secretariat is based at the Korea Peacebuilding Institute in Seoul, and this second training was organized by a local Japan committee including individuals from the World Friendship Center (Hiroshima), Peace Boat, Transcend Japan, the Global Campaign for Peace Education Japan, Nonviolent Peaceforce Japan and the Japan Mennonite Christian Church Conference. The regional steering committee also includes representatives of Blue Banner (Ulaanbaatar), Korea Peace Foundation (Seoul), Maritime State University (Vladivostok), Peace in China (Sichuan), and the Taiwan Grassroots Alliance for Peace (Taipei).

Courses to take place in 2012 include practical, hands-on training in the following:
           Critical Understanding of Conflict and Peace Issues
           Trauma Awareness and Healing
           Community-Based Restorative Justice for Schools
           Theory and Practice of Peace Eduation
           Peacebuilding Skills
           Historical and Cultural Stories of Peace

Participants will also join a field trip for experiential learning to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum on August 17 where they will meet with Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) and on August 18 to Okunojima, the site of Japan's wartime chemical weapons development and now home to a peace museum. The first week of the training will take place at Aster Plaza in central Hiroshima, while the second week will be hosted by the Hiroshima YMCA, Yuki. Throughout the event, participants will have ample opportunity to not only build their practical peacebuilding skills but also for the unique change to meet and interact with peers from around the region – still characterised by tensions and lack of positive relations between states - to together build relationships, share ideas, and reflect on their experience.

NARPI is sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) Northeast Asia, the Asia Community Trust, and several group and individual donors.

The third annual NARPI Summer Training will be held in 2013 in another part of the region, supported by local partners and peacebuilders. The venue will rotate throughout Northeast Asia in order to make the training more accessible for people throughout the region.

For additional information please see or email NARPI at

Thursday, July 26, 2012

NARPI 2012

In about two weeks, NARPI will begin its second annual summer training in Hiroshima, Japan! We are so excited to welcome the participants of 2012. Here is a video from NARPI Summer Training 2011 to show you all of the wonderful, life-changing experiences in store for you!

If you have events, posts, photos, or videos you would like to share, please send them to Submissions are always welcome!

Something New!

Welcome to the new blog for the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI)! NARPI is more than just an annual training center for peacebuilders in Northeast Asia - it is a growing community of friends, colleagues, and activists committed to changing our region. This blog will be away to continue to build that community by sharing updates, experiences, and news with each other, especially between the summer trainings.
If you have events, posts, photos, or videos you would like to share, please send them to Submissions are always welcome!