The Toda Institute and the Soka University Peace Research Institute co-sponsored a symposium entitled “The Alliance of Civilizations: Possible Pathways for Asia Pacific” at Soka University, Japan on 23 March 2009. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) was established in 2005 on an initiative by the governments of Turkey and Spain. The opening sentence of its mission statement reads:
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is an initiative of the UN Secretary-General which aims to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and peoples across cultures and religions, and to help counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism (UNAOC website).
After a dynamic opening address by Professor Tadashige Takamura (Deputy Vice President of Soka University and Representative Director of the Toda Institute), Professor Joseph Camilleri (Director of the Centre for Dialogue at La Trobe University, Australia) gave a keynote speech entitled “The Alliance of Civilizations: Possible Pathways for Asia Pacific.” He emphasized the urgency and tremendous potential of the AoC, especially in the huge area that comprises Australia and New Zealand to the South and China and Korea to the North.
Three presentations followed, namely:
A questions and answers session chaired by Professor Hideki Tamai, Director of the Soka University Peace Research Institute (SUPRI), concluded the event.
The Toda Institute wishes to further support the UNAOC, pursuing the actualization of the institute’s motto “Dialogue of Civilizations for Global Citizenship.”