Summary: UN ASG Fabrizio Hochschild lecture


“Future of Human Security: Its Increased Importance in the Struggling World
 – from the United Nations Perspective”

by Mr. Hochschild, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination


On 8 March, the Graduate Program on Human Security, the University of Tokyo, hosted a special lecture by the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination, Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild.
He questioned if our generation could hope for a better world for the next generation while highlighting seven major challenges today: i) climate change, ii) growing inequality, iii) lack of clarity in  geopolitical power relations leading to  greater unpredictability, iv) increasing number and complexity of armed conflicts, v) global threat of terrorism, vi) reduction of space in human rights promotion and protection, and vii) uncertainty of frontier technology.
These threats are taking place simultaneously and are mutually reinforcing. For example, increasing inequality can push marginalized people to further alienation, give rise to nationalism and isolationalism, and create an opportunity for recruitment by extremist groups. The rise of terrorism comes with the absence of the rule of law and many terrorist-related activities operate in developing countries.
It is therefore important to have a comprehensive measure to address the root causes of terrorism. Technology advancement is moving at a speed that outstrips public scrutiny so much so that policy makers cannot keep up. When the internet was created, people hoped that it would make the world better, but such technology is also susceptible to new forms of manipulation in which it is used as a tool for warfare.

Currently, there is mistrust for multilateral organization including the UN. This is paradoxical, given the challenges that we are facing are transnational in nature, and require solutions through cooperation. The UN’s relevance is ever more vital.

The UN is under a major reform to make itself more effective, to tackle discrimination, to reduce bureaucracy, and to have better coherence in its approach. The emphasis of the reform is on prevention, anticipating crisis and building resilience.

On the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mr Hochschild described them as a comprehensive tool in addressing contemporary issues. Japan has been leading  on the human security approach, which echoes the Secretary-General’s vision. Both concepts  focus on the most vulnerable people. By taking an integrated, needs-based and comprehensive approach, and by addressing the root causes of issues, human security can bring results.

(Unofficial summary by Haruka Mizobata and Ai Kihara-Hunt)


It was great to meet my former boss at the UN-Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Hope to have further cooperation in the near future.



For the coming generations

‘From the pen, there is a notebook.

From the notebook, there is a book.

From a book, there is a teacher.

From a teacher, there are generations.’

The line from a Syrian woman/girl in refuge was powerful.

What an enoumous courage those people have, to be providing incredibly powerful stories of their and their loved ones’ lives, in the public hearing!

And what a severe deprivation they are facing in Syria! And it continues after their move to a new place, if they manage to do so.

I believe in the power of education, in particular critical analysis and thinking. I hope to be one of such teachers who can make a slow but consistent contribution to the following generations.

HSP/SSJ seminar on Syria Crisis and International Law

HSP_SSJ Int'l-Seminar-Syria Flyer (EN) final-1

21 March 2018, 16:00-20:30 at the University of Tokyo

We, the Graduate Progam on Human Security at the Unversity of Tokyo, will be hosting a seminar on the Syria crisis and international law, jointly with Stand with Syria. We are inviting a former member of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria on the methodology and findings of the CoI. I will be speaking on what the CoI findings mean in international law, and the prospect of prosecution. This seminar is co-hosted by Human Rights Watch. I hope we can contribute to the awareness raising in Japan on the Syria Crisis.

8 March HSP Seminar with UN ASG Fabrizio Hochschild

HSP Seminar UN ASG Fabrizio Hochschild

Graduate Program on Human Security, the University of Tokyo, will be hosting a seminar by UN Assistant Secretary-General (Strategic Coordination) Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild on 8 March 2018. He was my boss at the UN-OHCHR, and it will be a good opportunity to hear his view on the prospect of considering human security and the UN in the struggling world, given his broad background in human rights, humanitarian work and peacekeeping/peacebuilding.

13:00-14:20, 8 March 2018 at Komaba campus, the University of Tokyo

Open to public. The seminar is in English. We look forward to seeing you there.

Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA Commissioner-General

Time flies and it has already been a few weeks ago, but I attended a seminar by Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA Commissioner-General on 25 January 2018. UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) works for 5.6 million Palestinian refugees.

His undeterred passion for what he works for was inspiring. Three points that I took home from what he said.

First, he stated that he refuses, and we should refuse for that matter, anominity of suffering. Suffering is deeply personal and individual.  Removing anonimity is a step to understand what wars do to people.

Second, he called for robustly defending norms and values inherited from World War II. That is the UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Geneva Conventions and Refugee Convention. Human rights is under assault not only in the conflict but also in discourse.

Third, he stated that skepticism is the least sophisticated form of surrender. If something is difficult, that is not a reason to stop, but that is the reason that we try.

Thank you very much for inviting me to attend further discussion over reception after the seminar.



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.