Overview

The Toda Peace Institute commissions evidence-based research, convenes multi-track and multi-disciplinary problem-solving workshops and seminars, and promotes dialogue across ethnic, cultural, religious and political divides. It catalyses practical, policy-oriented conversations between theoretical experts, practitioners, policymakers and civil society leaders in order to discern innovative and creative solutions to the challenges confronting the world in the twenty-first century.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Economic, environmental, military and political threats to security are all interconnected and cannot be dealt with satisfactorily at the level of the nation state. To pretend that they can is willful deceit. It is vital, therefore, to reactivate the principles of common and cooperative security as guides to developing effective regional and global responses to national, regional and global challenges. The Toda Peace Institute conducts research on the relevance of these principles in relation to 21st century threats, and organizes meetings with defense and security professionals in Asia, Europe and North America to explore the utility of cooperative security approaches to twenty-first century security dilemmas. The Toda Peace Institute is working in collaboration with key experts and relevant networks, e.g. the Asia Pacific Leadership Network (APLN), the European Leadership Network (ELN), Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), and the Cligendael Institute on WMD security, arms control and disarmament. In recent months, for example, Toda launched a project aimed at bridging the gap between the nuclear prohibition states and the nuclear powers and their allies. We did this to ensure that the Nuclear Ban Treaty did not undermine the NPT and to initiate a dialogue between two very different approaches to reducing nuclear risk and the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The modernization of nuclear weapons and expansion of arsenals is stimulating a dangerous and costly arms race that heightens nuclear risk and danger. The Toda Peace Institute is working to end nuclear competition and seeking to initiate or restore effective regional and global security mechanisms to facilitate multilateral win-win solutions. In partnership with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, the Clingendael Institute, and the Council on Security Risks, Toda is initiating a series of discussions amongst policy makers and experts on protecting the integrity of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in order to deal with new nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and other destabilizing technologies.

Social Media and Peacebuilding

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and WeChat are playing a positive and negative role in social cohesion, conflict dynamics, and broader social issues. Social media can incite hatred and violence, fuel polarization, and build support for authoritarian leaders. Social media can also help people combat hate speech, increase awareness through online dialogue and accurate information, and empower social movements to support democracy and social change. Yet few understand how social media works, how it uses a new “surveillance economy” and the extent of the threats social media poses to societies around the world. Understanding social media algorithms, bots, echo chambers, and the “attention economy” require a new set of capacities.

The Toda Peace Institute’s program on Social Media and Peacebuilding aims to achieve the following goals:

  • To increase public understanding of the role of social media in both promoting hate and division, and in fostering greater understanding and democracy.
  • To foster greater skill and capacity to use social media to support social cohesion, democracy and peace processes.
  • To document the positive and negative impact of social media on conflict dynamics in communities and countries around the world.
  • To provide a menu of creative options for addressing social media threats, including recommendations for civil society, governments, and the technology and finance sectors.
  • To foster greater communication and joint problem solving between technology companies, governments, financial sector, and peacebuilding organizations.

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Climate Change and Conflict

The interrelationships between climate change, conflict, security and peace have gained increased attention both in academia and politics over the last years, and with this new programme the Toda Peace Institute will make a specific contribution to both the scholarly debate and the elaboration of policies in this emerging field of research and practice. It will bring together researchers from climate change studies, peace and conflict studies and security studies as well as other relevant disciplines. The primary connecting link will be policymakers and peacebuilding practitioners with an interest in the climate change – conflict – peace nexus. The programme's regional focus will be Oceania as it is generally acknowledged that islands and coastal regions will be particularly severely impacted by the effects of climate change.

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

Over the past six years the Toda Peace Institute has organized a series of interactive, collaborative problem-solving workshops aimed at identifying impediments to stable peace in Northeast Asia with influentials from China, South Korea and Japan. These workshops have been aimed at dealing with national identity issues as well as painful historic memories which have a capacity to sabotage harmonious and peaceful relationships between the three countries. In the face of recent geopolitical instability, Toda has convened conferences bringing regional experts on peace and security in Northeast Asia together with policy makers and civil society organisations from China, South Korea, Japan and the United States to identify the dynamics generating insecurity in the region and discuss how risks can be managed and transformed on the Korean Peninsula.