Strait Talk Peace Project / Berkeley-San Francisco Strait Talk Symposia
JPRI is pleased to support Strait Talk, a student-centered non-partisan dialogue program that seeks to transform cross-Strait and broader Asia-Pacific relations by connecting young people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait and from the United States, and by empowering them to become a new generation of peacebuilders.
Strait Talk seeks to promote peace in three steps:
1. Identifying and recruiting outstanding young people who can become future leaders and peacemakers/builders.
2. Transforming promising young people into active peacebuilders via an intensive week-long symposium. The symposium provides training in conflict resolution, experience in international policy dialogue, and opportunities to create peace projects and to establish personal relationships that continue to be nurtured even after the symposium ends.
3. Empowering Strait Talk alumni individually and collectively by building a global, inter-communal network that aggregates ideational resources, political-economic capital, and people-to-people connections.
Strait Talk serves to bridge grassroots youth advocacy and elite-driven network theory. Its process is based on the Interactive Conflict Resolution method, which has been used since the 1960s to facilitate dialogue between people embroiled in seemingly intractable conflicts. The goals of ICR are to create personal trust across conflict lines and to develop creative and workable ideas to help spur official dialogue.
In 2005 Brown University undergraduates founded Strait Talk. Three years later a national Strait Talk organization was established as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt, non-profit corporation. In 2009 a second chapter was started at the University of California, Berkeley, and soon thereafter the Berkeley chapter was expanded to include other Bay Area partners, starting with the University of San Francisco's Center for the Pacific Rim.
Student organizing committees on both coasts of the United States hold an annual weeklong symposium, inviting fifteen outstanding university students—five each from mainland China, Taiwan, and the United States—to serve as delegates. Since 2011, additional symposia have been held in Hong Kong. Strait Talk hopes to expand to additional Asian cities soon.
The delegates engage in a dialogue led by an expert facilitator, and at the end of the week craft a consensus policy statement including recommendations to current leaders regarding possible areas of cooperation and resolution. Strait Talk alumni share their experience through high-level contacts and grassroots youth action after returning home. Delegates and organizers remain in contact online, hold frequent gatherings, and are carrying the project's vision for peace and cooperation into positions of influence in diverse fields, including law, finance, diplomacy, government, academia, and civil society organizations.
Each spring the Japan Policy Research Institute and the USF Center for the Pacific Rim host the Berkeley-San Francisco Strait Talk Symposium in cooperation with the Institute of East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley and the Asia Society Northern California.
Divided Lenses: Film and War Memories in the
JPRI at the USF Center for the Pacific Rim (USFCPR) is engaged in a multi-year research project on "Divided Memories and Reconciliation" in the Pacific Rim, in cooperation with the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) at Stanford University.
During the 2008-2009 academic year, JPRI/USFCPR co-sponsored a film series entitled "Divided Lenses: Film and War Memories in the Asia Pacific" and a corresponding academic conference that analyzed representations of twentieth-century war and colonialism in the films of China, Japan, the two Koreas, Taiwan, and the United States. The film series culminated with a public event with director Clint Eastwood, who discussed his innovative war films Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of our Fathers, and the conference, which brought together scholars from various countries of the Pacific Rim.
More information on the film series and conference can be found on the Stanford APARC site.
JPRI director, Dr. Chiho Sawada, and Dr. Michael Berry (associate professor of contemporary Chinese cultural studies, University of California Santa Barbara) are currently co-editing the conference proceedings for publication in book form.