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Aug 5, 2013 - Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) 2013 training begins
The third annual Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) Summer Training is now taking place between August 5-20 in Inje, South Korea. Over 50 participants, facilitators and staff are gathered for practical courses in peacebuilding as well as field trips and cross-cultural relationship building. This year, participants are coming from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, and South Korea. They are students, instructors, religious leaders, NGO staff and professionals with an interest in learning peacebuilding skills that they will use in their home communities. Peace Boat has been deeply involved in NARPI since its foundation, including participating actively on its Steering Committee. This year several Peace Boat staff and former participants will also attend NARPI in various roles including facilitator, intern and participant.

The two weeks of classes are being held at the DMZ Peace Life Valley Center in Inje county, Gangwon province, not far from the heavily militarized border with North Korea. NARPI Director Jae Young Lee reflected, "This year is the 60th anniversary of the ceasefire between North and South Korea. Therefore it is quite meaningful to have NARPI in Inje at the DMZ Peace Life Valley Center; this location is a microcosm of the nature of conflict in Northeast Asia."

The first week courses will be Conflict and Peace Framework; Trauma Awareness and Healing; and Theory and Practice of Peace Education. The second week courses will be Restorative Justice: Aiming for Healing and Reconciliation; Gender, Peace and Everyday Life Security; and Nonviolent Communication and Facilitation. The facilitators are professors and practitioners from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea; many are also NARPI Steering Committee members (Peace Boat's Meri Joyce will co-facilitate the course on Nonviolent Communication and Facilitation). Outside of classes, NARPI participants will also have social gatherings and opportunities to share about their cultures and peacebuilding experiences.

This year, the Summer Training will include two fieldtrips: a half-day fieldtrip to the DMZ, followed by a panel discussion, and a three-day field trip to the village of Toechon. In Toechon, NARPI participants will learn about the villagers' aspirations to incorporate peace and restorative justice into their community life and schools and they will also visit the House of Sharing, a museum and the home of women who are survivors of the Japanese military "comfort women" stations during the Second World War. On the last day of the training, participants will visit peacebuilding NGOs in Seoul.

NARPI partners with peacebuilding organizations around the region of Northeast Asia. NARPI's admin team is based in the Korea Peacebuilding Institute, and other partners include Peace Boat (Japan), Peace in China, Transcend Japan, Nonviolent Peaceforce Japan, Peace Missions Center (Japan Mennonite Christian Church), Blue Banner (Mongolia), and Taiwan Grassroots Alliance for Peace. This year's training was sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) Northeast Asia, the Korea Peacebuilding Institute, and individual and church donations.

In order to make the training more accessible for people throughout the region, NARPI trainings are held in rotating locations. NARPI was held in Seoul and Inje, Korea in 2011 and in Hiroshima, Japan in 2012.

"In Northeast Asia peacebuilding training is a new concept; the changing location of NARPI summer trainings promotes the spread of peace education in the region," shared NARPI Director Jae Young Lee. "Visiting sites of different historical conflicts where the pain and wounds of the past are still vivid is itself the core of peacebuilding education."

For additional information please see www.narpi.net or email Meri Joyce at meri(a)peaceboat.gr.jp.

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