Boundary Spanning Dialogue in Japan

Professor Jacqueline Wasilewski of the International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo, Japan, recently communicated with Dr. Alexander Christakis about two very interesting projects that she has managed in Japan. Two of her students, Yuta Suzuki and Daniel Surgeon, will be participating in the International Society for Systems Sciences ( in July 25, 2005, in Cancun, Mexico, and will make presentations on these two interesting projects.

Here is what she writes:
Our next year’s Center of Excellence funding came through, so I now
have money to send Yuta Suzuki and Daniel Sturgeon to the Cancun
Conference to report on our Boundary-spanning Dialogue Approach (BDA) Project here at ICU and Yuta’s student project in March using
Demosophia. I just hope it is not too late.

Unfortunately, I cannot come to Cancun at the beginning of July, but
Yuta and Daniel will represent us well.

So, they would like to participate in the Coordinated Sessions Panel
on Constructing Agoras in the Global Village and in anything that the
Youth SIG is doing.

Daniel will do the main presentation on the BDA Project, and Yuta
will do the main presentation on RING (Real Interaction with
Neighbors around the Globe). They both, however, participated in
both projects.

Daniel is a Rotary Peace Scholars Program Master’s student here at
International Christian University (ICU) and will be doing his
Master’s Thesis on Dialogue and Public Diplomacy.

Yuta just graduated from ICU and wrote an excellent senior thesis on
the use of Demosophia in the RING Project and the use of ILIS (the
Indigenous Leaders Interactive System) and Indigeneity in the BDA
Project and compared and contrasted these two projects. This coming
year he will either be working for JICA (the Japanese equivalent of
USAID) or doing graduate work in England (he is hoping that it will
be the former … so send positive energy … he just had his final
interview Monday of this week!).

Below is a brief description of the two projects:


In February 2005 twenty Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Russian
students gathered at International Christian University (ICU) in
Tokyo to engage in a Boundary-spanning Dialogue in which obstacles to intercultural communication in the North East Asian Region would be identified. Participants in the dialogue also included indigenous
people (Ainu and Evenki) from the North East Asian region. The
facilitators for this dialogue were themselves indigenous people,
Comanche and Maori from the US and New Zealand, respectively.
Seventy-eight obstacles were identified. Five action scenarios to
overcome these obstacles emerged from the dialogue. The fundamental obstacle was/is the problem of the contested history of the region. A second dialogue will be held in November this year (2006) to develop an implementation plan for dealing with the contested
history. On June 12th a subset of the participants will gather to
integrate the five existing action scenarios and to decide the
Triggering Question for the next dialogue in November. It is hoped
that the ultimate outcome of this project will be an International
Day of Reconciliation in the North East Asian Region.


RING is a Japanese student project through which about 5,000 people
over the last four years have gotten together to discuss conflicts in
the contemporary world. This project has brought together
Palestinians and Israelis, people from Kosovo and from Chechnya,
etc., with each other and with Japanese counterparts. The project
includes a camp, home stays and a conference. One of the conference
participants this past March was a 93 year old former Japanese Army
soldier from WWII who has been working for peace and reconciliation
since the end of the war. The RING project has, in turn, generated
other projects.

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