Rwanda: To what extent has reconciliation and peacebuilding be achieved?

Rwanda seminar 2 smaller

The University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Sustainable Peace and Global Peacebuilding Association of Japan have organized a seminar on Rwanda, with a focus on its current status on reconciliation. Dr. Kazuyuki Sasaki, PIASS University spoke as the main speaker, Prof. Mitsugi Endo of the University of Tokyo was the commentator, Prof. Sukehiro Hasegawa, former Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General, was the moderator of discussion, and I served as the master of ceremony.

Dr. Kazuyuki Sasaki of PIASS University, Rwanda, has discussed the two different levels of reconciliation: reconciliation with a focus on national unity, and that between victims and perpetrators (on the individual level and between communities). What I found interesting was the pace of reconciliation that Rwanda as a country is chasing. Having been involved with the reconciliation process in Timor-Leste, and having read the book written by the former Force Commander of the UN Mission in Rwanda ‘Shake Hands with the Devil’, I am convinced that reconciliation takes a lot of time, probably two generations. In all the initiatives, I hope that victims’ voices are heard.

My article on the summary content of the seminar is available here.


GPAJ/ACUNS Symposium on Peacebuilding


Global Peacebuilding Association of Japan had its first symposium today (2 December 2017) at the University of Tokyo. We had Mr. Yasushi Akashi, former UN SRSG in Cambodia and Ambassador Yosihumi Okamura (International Peace and Cooperation/TICAD/Human Rights/UN Security Council Reform) in the plenary meeting. The official web article will be published soon at the GPAJ site, but for me Ambassador Okamura’s assessment of the limit of the UN for using a military personnel gathered from Member States was very insightful.

Four panels on different topics of peacebuilding were also very interesting. The mixture of senior practitioners and academics with a few junior researchers, and that of people from headquarters and field, were very successful. What a precious opportunity where we could exchange views with various types of people, all from different background!

I was the organizer and general master of ceremony for this event. Great to have been able to invite so many interesting speakers. Special thanks goes to our organizing committee. Most of them are from the University of Tokyo, and they took complete ownership so quickly. This was the day that could not have happend without their help. Thanks all.