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Engaging with Mediation and Peacebuilding in the Age of Division: The War in Ukraine, South Sudan, and Afghanistan

November 21, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Prof. Daisaku Higashi is a leading scholar on mediation during armed conflict and post-conflict peacebuilding in Japan. He will talk about his direct engagement with the government of Japan and UN agencies in addressing three global challenges in the last three years: 1) How can we end the war in Ukraine, 2) Challenges of peacebuilding in South Sudan, 3) Addressing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and creating its self-reliance and stability. Prof. Higashi visited Afghanistan in February in 2023 as UNDP Senior Peacebuilding Consultant; he directly worked with Ms. Yoko Kamikawa, President of Japan Parliamentarians Federation on Population (JPFP), non-partisan working group by parliament members of Japan on the issues of Afghan humanitarian crisis. (Ms. Yoko Kamikawa then became Foreign Minister of Japan in September 2023). Prof. Higashi was also assigned by Mr. Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japanese Foreign Minister at that time to visit South Sudan and to make some intellectual contributions to its peacebuilding in March 2023; he had numerous meetings with top leadership of the South Sudanese government, including Dr. Riek Machar, First Vice President of South Sudan. Prof. Higashi also made several important policy proposals about the roles of Japan as a chair of G7 to create global momentum to push Russian to withdraw its forces from Ukraine to end the war. He will share his own tackling of these global challenges and have intensive discussion with participants on the crucial questions.

About the speaker

Daisaku HigachiDr. Daisaku Higashi is a professor at Sophia University in Tokyo. He is specialized in mediation on armed conflicts, post-conflict peacebuilding, and international relations. He started his career as a program director at NHK, Japan Public TV Stations and produced numerous documentaries on international conflicts, including “Rebuilding Iraq: Challenges of the United Nations” which he received the silver medal from UN Correspondents Association in New York in 2004. Then, he took MA and Ph.D. in the political science at the University of British Columbia in Canada. He also worked for United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) as a team leader for reconciliation and reintegration in Kabul (2010), as well as Minister-Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN (2012-2014) as a part of exchange program between Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and University of Tokyo where he served as Associate Professor. He transferred to the tenure position at Sophia University in 2016. Since 2018, Prof. Higashi has been frequently assigned by Japanese Foreign Ministers to go to Iraq and South Sudan to make some intellectual contribution to peacebuilding efforts in these conflicted states. His publication includes “How Can We End the War in Ukraine” (Iwanami Shinsho 2023), “Inclusivity in Mediation and Peacebuilding: UN, Neighboring States, and Global Power” (Edward Elgar 2022), “Civil Wars and Mediation: How Can We End the Modern Wars” (Chuko Shinsho 2020), “Challenges of Constructing Legitimacy in Peacebuilding: Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone and East Timor” (Routledge 2015), “Peacebuilding: Field Research in Afghanistan and East Timor” (Iwanami 2009).


November 21, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


Balsillie School of International Affairs, 67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON Canada
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