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These two questions-Can we work with “enemy” ? and Do we know how we feel when we are discriminated for no reason?–are what we addressed at our session #3 of Global Agenda Seminar (GAS)2019 held on July 27.  Reflecting this year’s main theme of “Working across Differences”, these two issues were discussed.  It was quite a challenge for me, as well to do the assignment for the first one.  The assignment was “summarize lessons learned when you take some action to collaborate with ‘enemy’ by your criteria.”  The book we asked participants to read before hand was “Collaborating with enemy” which describes how the author came to realize variety of approaches to collaborate, aside from “sharing the purpose/vision” (i.e. conventional wisdom) in different conflict situations.  The book itself is quite tough to read and the assignment was even harder, I thought.

In the first half of the session, we asked several participants to present their lessons learned, and they had many things I learned. As I think of the situation today (US, UK, and countries in Mid east) where conflicts and sharp divides are found more often than before, I felt that we addressed the good topic, AND ended up realizing how difficult it is to collaborate with enemies.

In the second half of the session, we had Mr. Mizuto Tanaka, Executive Director of Japan Prize.  This is the competition organized by NHK, of educational contents(majority are TV shows from different countries and the issues they address include refugees, prejudice, and dark side of technology, for example.  I had the opportunity to view some  of them and we selected a few to show during the session for discussion.  As the topic is quite heavy and when shown visually it is more vivid, breakout discussion in small groups was quite heated.

Now that I reflect this session (the report in Japanese came out about a week ago at Academy site), I feel whether we are making even a small progress to unify/unite the divided world. (I suppose more fundamental question is whether we should unite in the first place.) Many things to think about….

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