Network for Peace in Syria wrote a report of Symposium on February 11th, 2017 for "Seeking Effective Approaches to the Syria Crisis".
Symposium Report “Seeking Effective Approaches to the Syria Crisis”
April 4th. 2017
Network for Peace in Syria
On 10-13 February, 2017, the Network for Peace in Syria invited four Syrians from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to Japan in order to exchange views on feasible approaches to the Syrian Crisis, and also to hold a symposium at Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo.
The foregoing exchange session brought together Syrian and Japanese experts to discuss how Japanese academia and non-governmental organizations can support efforts to mitigate the present Syrian disaster. Nabil Marzouk and Zaki Mehchy from the Syria Policy Research Center (SCPR) were invited by Network for Peace in Syria, and the Emergency specialist Rawia Altaweel from the UNICEF Middle East/North Africa Regional Office, and Louay Fallouh, a Medical Officer of Rehabilitation for the Disabled at the UNDP Syria office were invited by Relational Studies on Global Crises based in Chiba University. In addition, researchers at the Syria Public Opinion Research Center (SOCPS) in Damascus joined the symposium through Skype.
（Note: The symposium had no political or financial objectives, and it did not condemn or place blame on any specific person or organization for violations and acts of violence.）
In the following symposium, each of the four Syrian invitees explained the present conditions in Syria, and a member of SCOPS gave a short statement. This was followed by a question and answer session. The conference hall was filled with over 100 participants––an indication of the strong concern about the situation in Syria. Noriko Shibata of World Vision Japan, a member of the Network for Peace in Syria, summarized the following conclusions that emerged from the discussions.
- The participants reaffirmed the view that approaches incorporating peace building programs in other countries will not work for peacebuilding in Syria. It is necessary seek a unique approach tailored to Syria that based on a deep understanding of the country’s economic, social, and historical realities, and a thorough analysis of the conflict’s root causes. It is important to note the role to be played by stakeholders in Syria (especially the citizens who structure Syrian society) and not outsiders in these processes.
- It became clear that research institutes (think tanks) operated by Syrians can be hubs for linking Japanese citizens with civic groups in and outside of Syria.
- Beforehand there was a strong interest in the attendance of experts from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan at the symposium. This response reconfirmed the fact that many Japanese are concerned of the Syrian crisis and they want any action which they can join.
- Given the current situation in Syria, one dialogue alone will not help, and a following series of discussions will be needed to find a feasible approach. As a representative of Japanese citizens who seek peace in Syria, the "Network for Peace in Syria" will work with supporting organizations to contact civic organizations in and outside of Syria, and it will continue to create opportunities for dialogue. Furthermore, there is a need to widely disseminate of the content of these discussions. The establishment of solidarity between governments and non-governmental organizations inside and outside Japan that are working for Syrian peace is another vital point.
- It is also necessary that Japanese Diet members and government agencies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA) are involved to the discussions in order for the proper approach to public-private partnerships for realizing peace in Syria, and to establish concrete strategies.
＊ 日本語の報告はこちら。（Symposium report in Japanese）