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ConflictMinerals-150x150As I have been out of Japan for the past two weeks, the sources of information I access are more diverse than when I am in Japan. Judging from what I hear on podcast, see on tweets, (No TV or newspaper to speak of), I feel that the world is changing in a way that we have not imagined about a decade ago. Take examples of Iran Nuclear agreement, EU/Greece agreement, diplomatic relationship between the US and Cuba, and US Supreme court decisions on affordable care and same sex marriage. Many young people from North America and Europe are joining IS campaign, as they get exposed to social media constantly.
However, I do not think we have enough information about some global issues as they seem so remote from what we hear or see. One of them is “conflict minerals”, for example. Probably not many of us have even heard of it, even though the products we use almost every day may contribute to the human rights violations and fund indirectly the armed militant groups. Watch this video of the person who became aware of the problem. You can see how conflict minerals exist in our daily life from this video.

We face so many serious issues if we look at many different parts of the world, which are so overwhelming that we may feel helpless. Conflict minerals is one of them as we hear so little about Democratic Republic of Congo (we may not even know where it is located in Africa, much less its history of conflicts.)  We may feel that we have other immediate issues so close to home, such as nuclear power, aging, just to name a few.

Can we leave the issues such as Conflict minerals as they are, because we are not aware of the status and we see little relevance to our every day life?  Many of global issues today cannot be resolved in a short period of time, as they are so inter-related, covering distant places and diverse players.   Can we think of the way to make these distant issues much closer to our heart so that we can start doing something about it?

On Friday, July 24, at session #28 of “Davos Experience in Tokyo” series at HP Japan office, we hear HP’s initiative to address the issue of conflict minerals. (I hear their office has a splendid view of Tokyo!)  We will then try to develop some specific ideas and actions to make the matter much closer to our life.  For those who remember our last session of “Music to the world,” where we discussed ideas how to make contemporary music more accessible to us.  Though topics are very different, both conflict minerals and contemporary music are similar in that they are not well known to the public at large  Let us think of a variety of creative ways we can make the issue more visible.  Join us by registering through our website.

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