ALFP Lecture Series

Religion in Asia: A Possible Role for Peacebuilding

Over the years, we have witnessed countless clashes between different religious groups and attacks targeting a certain group of people, and as these tragedies keep happening, there is a tendency for people to develop a feeling of fear and hatred of “others” versus “us” and try to dissociate from others in any way possible. While religion has often been addressed as a source of conflict, however, it has also served as a catalyst to connect people in many parts of Asia. In this session, three peace activists from the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Pakistan will share their thoughts on the ongoing conflicts afflicting those in a vulnerable position, how each has worked to create mutual understanding among different groups of people, and what should be done to further foster peace in their respective country and region.

*This lecture series is also held as the 4th Joint Session of the Asia Pacific Young Leaders Program (APYLP), a community of young leaders from the Asia Pacific which ALFP has been a part of.

Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 6:30 pm
Venue: Iwasaki Koyata Memorial Hall, International House of Japan (5-11-16 Roppongi, Minato-ku)

● Albert E. Alejo — Peace Activist / Assistant Professor, Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines)
● Jehan Perera — Executive Director, National Peace Council of Sri Lanka
● Fouzia Saeed — Social Activist / Gender Adviser, UNDP Pakistan

Moderator: Ogawa Tadashi (Professor, Atomi University)
Language: English / Japanese (with simultaneous interpretation)
Coorganized by the International House of Japan and the Japan Foundation Asia Center
Admission: Free (registration required)
Registration: Registration Form

Albert E. Alejo (Peace Activist; Assistant Professor, Ateneo de Manila University / Philippines)

Dr. Alejo is a Jesuit priest and a peace activist, committed to the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, while engaging in campaigns against corruption and violence, and human trafficking research. Over the years, he has conducted public consultations on the Mindanao conflict and contributed to the peace process. He has also initiated the nationwide
Ehem Anti-Corruption Movement and helped create awareness of corruption in the Philippines. His publications include Generating Energies in Mount Apo (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2000), which helped in the establishment of Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue for indigenous rights advocacy and dialogue with Muslim civil society. He has a Ph.D. from the University of London, and currently teaches at Ateneo de Manila University as Assistant Professor of Sociology, Anthropology, Systematic Theology and Philosophy. (ALFP 2006 Fellow)

Jehan Perera (Executive Director, National Peace Council of Sri Lanka)

Dr. Perera is the Executive Director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, a nonpartisan and independent peace advocacy group founded in 1995 to facilitate a people’s movement for peace and a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. He has also been on the boards of several other civil society organizations, including the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), and served as a member of a government-appointed advisory committee on national integration. He has written extensively on war and peace in Sri Lanka and is a regular political commentator with the Sri Lankan media, writing newspaper columns in English, Sinhala and Tamil. He obtained a Doctor of Law degree from Harvard University, and has received international peace prizes from institutions in Japan, India and Sweden. (ALFP 2011 Fellow)

Fouzia Saeed (Social Activist; Gender Adviser, UNDP Pakistan)

Dr. Saeed is well known in activist circles in Pakistan, working for the promotion of human rights, democracy and diversity, especially focusing on women and folk culture. For over 30 years, she has developed and headed several organizations and platforms, including Bedari, the first women’s crisis center in Pakistan, and a UNDP Gender Program Unit. Since the late 1990s, she has worked on the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace; her achievements include bringing changes to the work environment in the entire UN system. At the community level, she has helped empower the women of Pakistan suffering at the hands of religious fundamentalists, by illuminating positive dimensions of religion and culture including Sufi traditions. With a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, she is the author of Taboo! The Hidden Culture of a Red Light Area (Oxford University Press, 2001), which shed light on the red light area of Pakistan. In 2012, she received the Battle of Crete Award for her three-decade struggle for women’s rights. (ALFP 2010 Fellow)

Ogawa Tadashi (Professor, Atomi University)

Since entering the Japan Foundation in 1982, Dr. Ogawa has been engaged in international exchange for the enhancement of mutual understanding between Japan and other countries. He has contributed to the development of ALFP since its start-up in the mid-1990s. Prior to joining Atomi University, he served as Director General at the Japan Foundation in New Delhi as well as in Jakarta, and Manager Director for the Planning Department at the Japan Foundation HQ. His research covers international cultural exchange policy, contemporary cultures of Southeast and South Asia, and comparative religion and sociology. He has a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University, and has written several books and articles on international politics, particularly focusing on the Islamic world.

For further information:
ALFP Secretariat
c/o Program Department
International House of Japan
5-11-16 Roppongi, Minato-ku Tokyo 106-0032 JAPAN
Tel: +81-3-3470-3211 Fax: +81-3470-3170
E-mail: program* (Please replace * with @)