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Kyoto Peacebuilding Center 1st Councilors' Meeting Councilors' Comments

Kyoto University of the Arts

Kyoto Peacebuilding Center (KPC)

Meeting of the Council

19 May 2022

Mr. Yasushi Akashi

Honorary Chair of the Kyoto Peacebuilding Center and former USG for Humanitarian and Disarmament Affairs, SRSG for Cambodia and former Yugoslavia

Distinguished Mr. Akashi began noting the beauty of the horseshoe-shaped new meeting chamber of the Kyoto University of the Arts where the meeting was held that day, and stated that although the chamber resembled the UN Security Council, it was superior to the UN camber.

In his capacity of honorary chair of the KPC and on behalf of all the esteemed colleagues present, Mr. Akashi warmly welcomed Mr. Atul Khare to the KPC and stated that he was one of the most experienced and gifted UN leaders in recent years. Mr. Akashi was one of those extremely keen to hear Mr. Khare share his remarkable knowledge about how to organize the work of the UN in various locations.

Furthermore, Mr. Akashi said that he was also looking forward to hearing Under-Secretary- General Khare’s views regarding what Japan might be able to provide to the UN in the area of peacekeeping as well as peacebuilding during the time of global crises for peace and security in Europe as well as in Asia. Furthermore, Mr. Akashi noted that today’s discussion was taking place at Kyoto University of the Arts, a university dedicated to art which constitutes a great pillar for cultures and civilizations, not to speak of other disciplines like economics and diplomacy. He added that the UN has done a great job in terms of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. UN peacekeeping started in the Middle East in 1948 and in the area of Kashmir between India and Pakistan in 1949. Perhaps one other area to be explored was the area of peacemaking, including the area of mediation and negotiation. This observation may be applicable to Ukraine, for example.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Akashi noted that in a few weeks Japan would be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Japan’s first participation in UN peacekeeping in Cambodia in 1992. In that connection, he was anxious to hear thoughtful observations and opinions from Under-Secretary-General Khare, and invited him to take the floor.

Councilors of the Kyoto Peacebuilding Center

Ambassador Tadamichi Yamamoto

Former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan

Ambassador Yamamoto started his remarks by emphasizing that Mr. Khare's proposal is based on a deep understanding of what Japan can do as well as the realities of Japan's contribution to peace operations. In addition, Ambassador Yamamoto stated that peace operations are evolving and will require us all to contribute not only to this sort of direct contribution but also to provide the countries with a variety of ways to build their capacity. Japan's advanced technology, its social fabric, and its health care system, such as the "mother and child" healthcare notebook, provide opportunities to help the peace operations.Besides his remarks, Ambassador Yamamoto addressed two questions to Mr. Khare. Could Japan and other countries work toward making UN operations more efficient?Given that we are holding this conference at the Kyoto University of the arts, could the UN work with the arts to promote a greater sense of peace? He concluded by expressing his hope that the Japanese government will seriously take Mr. Kahre's suggestions into consideration with support from members of the Japanese legislature.

Dr. Takahiro Shinyo

Councilor of the Kyoto Peacebuilding Center, Professor of Kwansei Gakuin University, and Former Ambassador to the United Nations and the Federal Republic of Germany

Professor Shinyo began his remarks by posing two questions to Mr. Khare. Why the nature of peacekeeping has changed so much that the vast majority of peacekeepers come from developing countries? Additionally, he asked if maintaining peace is a task for developing countries only, or do countries such as Japan have the capability to help through technical or logistical support? In other words, how can you encourage advanced country to be more enthusiasticl in peacekeeping operations? His final question ended his remarks: what can the UN do to help Ukraine? It seems that the UN doesn't have much power since peacekeeping operations are not feasible where there is no ceasefire agreement.

Professor Shinyo also replied to Mr. Onogi, wo said art and the UN are far apart. The UN actually contains a bunch of art. UNESCO Charter says not to build a bastion of war in people's minds s, which implies that we should not think of art as too narrow. Negotiations are sometimes called “The Art of Negotiations”. This is how we solve problems. In Germany, there is a saying that “culture makes politics, but politics does not make culture.” If we take a broad view of art, it can be a tool to eradicate wars.

Ambassador Tsuneo Nishida

Former Senior Deputy Foreign Minister of Japan and Ambassador to the United Nations

In his remarks, Ambassador Nishida emphasized the role that the Kyoto University of the Arts plays in promoting peace. Since the end of the second world war, Japan has been one of the very few countries which truly enjoys and supports the UN and system of liberal and multilateral democracy for a variety of reasons that are complex at the same time. He added that if you ask the students at the Kyoto University of the Arts about the UN, they express great optimism about the UN and what it can accomplish, for instance ending the war in Ukraine. Even with their optimism, it is important to emphasize that the veto power has sometimes gained the negative connotation that permanent members are monopolizing the power; the second is PKO is the most visible and somehow inspiring operation among the youth where the blue helmet remains a symbol of power. Further, Ambassador Nishida observed that the UN can function well with good human resources, qualified personnel, and money and that it is time now to provide high-tech resources as well. As we watch the crisis unfold in Ukraine, we see the need for weaponry, technology, and intelligence to help them achieve victory.

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