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The Seven Centers of Peace

International Christian University in Tokyo


This story originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Rotary magazine. Visit Peace Fellowships for updates. 

Rotary Peace Centers offer tailor-made curricula to train individuals devoted to peacebuilding and conflict resolution — no matter where they land. More than 1,500 peace fellows from more than 115 countries have graduated from a Rotary Peace Center since the program was created in 1999; the first peace centers began classes three years later. The curriculum at each peace center has been carefully crafted to address specific aspects of the peacebuilding process — and train the next generation of global change-makers. Currently, Rotary has seven peace centers in various locations around the world. The newest, at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda — the first in Africa — welcomed its inaugural cohort of peace fellows in 2021.

Founded in the wake of World War II, ICU embraces the mission of the United Nations and has a strong focus on the promise of international diplomacy. Osamu Arakaki, the program’s director, was a legal officer of a UN humanitarian agency in Canberra, Australia, and associate director Herman Salton worked at the UN Headquarters in New York. The school’s emphasis on intergovernmental peacekeeping organizations is underscored in classes such as “The United Nations and Sustainable Development” and “Multilateral Diplomacy.”

“ICU holds a mission to foster international citizens contributing to the establishment of lasting peace,” says Arakaki. “And it has formed countless UN and international organization staff members and diplomats.”

The ICU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is known for its interdisciplinary program and liberal arts approach. Fellows pursue a master’s degree in peace studies within the public policy and social research program.

The 22-month peace studies program prides itself on the open dialogue between students and instructors. Classes at the graduate level are offered in English, and the student-to-faculty ratio of 18-to-1 enables ICU to realize its mission of small-group education. A field trip to Hiroshima enables students, including some who have come from war-torn countries, to hear the voices of survivors of the nuclear bomb and witness firsthand how Japan attempts to overcome genocide through reconciliation. “The horror of Hiroshima is not simply in the past,” Arakaki says. “It is a real fear that the tragedy may be repeated in parts or even the whole of the globe in the future unless we make a concerted effort to avoid that situation.”

Read about other Rotary Peace Centers

• This story originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Rotary magazine.