Asian Forum for Solidarity Economy
China-India-Japan Forum: Responsible Youth working towards peace and cooperation in Asia
Forever Young, Forever Green
Indian Youth in the Philippines : Shared Reflections on Selected Experiences
Indian Youth Intercultural Exposure visit to Brazil
International Consultation on "Youth Responsibility for Environment, Peace and Sustainable Development” in New Delhi, India -1st April 08
Members of the Indian Charter team in the Philippines
Reflection on the Asian Citizens Assembly: Our Commonalities and Shared Responsibilities
The Brazil trip - texts and images
The Real Situation of Filipino Migrants in Japan
Workshop on "Intergenerational Partnerships for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation"
Published on 4 December 2008
India, Japan and South Corea
by Sudha REDDY
Networking and promoting the Charter process
My Journey to ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’ – Japan & ‘The Land of the Morning Calm’- South Korea
(A brief report)
Let me begin by thanking Dr. John Clammer, well-known Sociologist, Director of International Studies, UN University, Tokyo, for motivating me and having made my journey to South Korea and Japan meaningful. Deeply committed to the Charter of Human Responsibilities and its relevance in the present global context, he had prearranged my meetings with several scholars, academic institutions, and NGOs in Korea and Japan.
I sincerely thank my friend, Dr. Kyoung-Hee Moon, head of Human Resource Development Division, Political Science and International Relations of Chungnam Women’s Policy Development Institute, Gongju-city, Korea, for organizing several meetings in Seoul and Gongju-city. She made my communication easier by helping me with language in all our meetings.
Last but not the least, my earnest thanks to the FPH for encouraging me to create/ broaden platform for CHR in Korea and Japan.
After saying good bye to CHR friends, who were going to enjoy Beijing hospitality, I left for Changchun airport on 29th morning, hoping to meet my Dr. John Clammer at the airport.
At Changchun airport, the airline ticket counter representative dropped a Chinese verbal bomb that I have not brought my ticket to Seoul!!! It was Zhao Yifeng who came all the way to airport and rescued me from the confused, language-constrained situation. It seemed that I was destined to stay back in Changchun for one more day by the call of mother Earth. He brought me back to the same hotel and arranged one of his Ph.D students, who could speak English, to be with me till I catch the flight next morning. She was so kind to have helped until I left for Korea.
After memorable experiences, both in the Charter meeting and also in the situation at the airport I finally reached Seoul, the city of beautiful harmony and contrasts (past & present). I knew I had to make up for the lost time. It was unfortunate that I missed some meetings and also missed opportunity of meeting some important people on the previous day. I was picked up by Dr. Kyoung-Hee Moon and Dr. John Clammer and rushed to a workshop organized by a women’s NGO network in Seoul, Korea Women’s Political Solidarity. Korea Women’s Political Solidarity in Seoul is the largest women NGO network involved in political empowerment of women in Korea.
The workshop was about the experience sharing of the trip to Germany, France and Sweden this June. Eight of women researchers and politicians at the organization visited the three countries to see how they empower women in the field of politics. At the workshop they presented the outcome of their field research and discussed what they could learn from the three countries’ experience. The presentations were made in Korean. My Korean friend became the interpreter for me.
I shared about Indian democracy, the present political scenario and elected women representatives in active politics. I took the opportunity to talk about the relevance of CHR for responsible governance. It was also an opportunity to meet several Women activists from various organizations and women and men in Korean political parties. There raised a proposal to organize exposure visit to India to meet Indian women politicians in Indian democracy’.
Next day we travelled to Gongju-city, an hour hour from Seoul by Korea Train Express to visit Asan Woori Family Counselling Center. In Korea, there has been an increase of migrant women, mainly from the Southeast Asian countries and China, who marry rural Korean men and live in a rural area. These women have a number of difficulties in their daily life because of cultural differences, language barriers, domestic violence, age gap, and so on. The Korean government is providing some financial and institutional support for those women and their families through NGO/GO groups.
Ms. Yoon Ae Ran, the director of the Center explained about the various activities that take place in the center like intercultural trainings, counseling, income generation, language, gender sensitization, against domestic violence, child care etc. We discussed about the ethical basis underlined in CHR for the concern and commitment towards the dignity of women irrespective of their backgrounds.
Finally we reached Chungnam Women’s Policy Development Institute, situated on top of dense green mountains, it is told that these mountains are abode for female spirits and herbal medicines; and even now the practioners live in these mountains! I thought it was fascinating to have Women’s Institute in Yang Mountains! I am sure you would also think how fascinating this is.
Along with Dr. Kyoung-Hee Moon, head of Human Resource Development Division, Political Science and International Relations several feminist scholars ( both men and women) who work at the institute were also involved in diverse areas including policy issues for women farmers, disabled women, elderly women, overseas migrant women, women workers, girls, to name a few.
There was a surprise formal gathering of scholars and researchers, waiting to listen to my talk on CHR process! Our dialogue continued over the dinner.
The group agreed with me that rights and responsibilities have to be dramatically highlighted, redefined and, in a certain way re-contextualized. They expressed it is the need of the hour to hold meaningful dialogue on larger platforms and actions for peaceful inter-existence from feminine perspective
Dr. Kyoung-Hee Moon has volunteered to translate CHR into Korean language. They assured to emphasize the notion of responsibility in their programs.
In Tokyo Dr. John Clammer had arranged several meeting with distinguished people in UNU, NGOs, scholars, including Soka Gakkai International etc.
Japan has strong cultural and ethical bonds which one can see literally among the people on the streets in the midst of frenetic pace of life. More or less honest, polite, respecting elders, active healthy old people in completely westernized/ urbanized society.
There are also Kimono clad beautiful women on busy streets, subways, silent prayers in Shinto temples, mix of Shinto and Buddhist rituals in temples. ..
PARC is a NGO aims to realize a society where people of “the North” and “the South” can leave equally in harmony. Its activities include educational programmes such as hands – on research seminars on various social justice issues, the Freedom school, Policy proposals and Networking around the world in order to share information and work collaboratively with others.
PARC is mainly managed by dedicated women; the founder/ president Ms.KITAZAWA Yoko is well known in FPH and has been familiar with CHR process and keen on promoting CHR in Japan. She has also got CHR translated into Japanese. PARC will be convening Asia Forum for Solidarity Economy in Nov 2009 in Tokyo.
It was an inspiring and fruitful discussion on the promotion of CHR in Japan and North East Asia. Friends at PARC are invaluable for their insightful and appreciate outlook on the notion of responsibility & practice.
PARC team assured that they would certainly highlight CHR in Asia Forum for Solidarity Economy by holding a session on CHR in the conference. Relevant people from Korea and China will also be invited to the conference. The conference will be one of the appropriate platforms to introduce CHR in the North East Asia. Meanwhile they would expand CHR initiatives suitably among various sections of the Japanese society.
Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is a Buddhist association with more than 12 million members in 190 countries and territories worldwide. For SGI members, Buddhism is a practical philosophy of individual empowerment and inner transformation that enables people to develop themselves and take responsibility for their lives. As lay believers and “engaged Buddhists,” SGI members strive in their everyday lives to develop the ability to live with confidence, to create value in any circumstances and to contribute to the well-being of friends, family and community. The promotion of peace, culture, education, human rights and responsibilities, environment is central to SGI’s activities. Earth Charter has been the basis for its environmental activism.
I am so inspired by the compassionate and dedicated work of the members for human dignity and harmony through social engagement of spirituality in the present global context. We had a warm and insightful interaction filled with similar interests and concerns in SGI.
We all agreed that it is so important to emphasize the idea of responsibility that leads naturally to action. Earth Charter and Charter of Human Responsibilities would together bring a new perspective and dimension for significant dialogue and practice.
Ms. Joan M. Anderson, NGO Liaison and in charge of SGI publications informed later that she would endeavor to bring Charter of Human Responsibilities to the attention of people in the meeting in Amsterdam where overlap and relationship between the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter will be discussed.
Dr. John Clammer and I met Dr. Vesselin Popovski, Director of Studies, International Order and Justice Peace and Governance Programme (Human Rights) UN University, and introduced CHR. He has enthusiastically acknowledged that the responsibilities should be complimentary to Human Rights Charter and its imperative need globally. We all agreed that the real challenge is about the translation of ideas into practice at macro level.
A workshop on ‘Ethics and Human Responsibility’ was being proposed in collaboration with UNU.