An Academic Peace Studies Perspective of a Proposal for World Peace

An Academic Peace Studies Perspective of a Proposal for World Peace on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2022 Peace Proposal “Transforming Human History: The Light of Peace and Dignity”

By Dr LIM Tai Wei

Dr LIM Tai Wei is an Associate Professor at Soka University of Japan (SUJ). In SUJ, he teaches business subjects including sustainability studies, international business and multicultural management. SUJ promotes the goals of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As an East Asian area studies specialist, he is also a frequent media commentator on East Asian affairs.

From the academic Peace Studies perspective, the message of ‘The Light of Peace and Dignity’ is timely and indeed contemplative thoughts for uncertain times. The doubling down of multiple crises and the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has created more obstacles to attaining world peace and development. The transition to an endemic has not been as smooth as expected. Such sentiments were clearly presented in the proposal. 

The proposal also pointed the fact that we are working in a transnational world with boundary-less crises that do not respects sovereignties of countries and emergencies is testing the resilience of humankind. This is a message put across by the peace proposal and it is useful to remind all stakeholders about this. The proposal author aptly quoted the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s July 2020 declaration of the start of global pandemic. The analogy comparing the pandemic to an X-ray screening peering into the societal structure and revealing social/political/economic weaknesses is enlightening. 

There are persuasive arguments made to increase global attention on vulnerable groups affected by the pandemic like women (the proposal also includes a detailed plan for gender parity), children, the infirmed and the elderly. The fear that attention is taken away from these groups in the aspect of social vulnerabilities due to distractions and diversion of resources in managing the pandemic is a persuasive argument and an important caution raised in the proposal. 

Ensuring worsening outcomes does not happen is importantly highlighted but, at the same time, it does not mean implementing a blanket solution to snuff out the existing challenges. Even with the exigency of managing these deadly crises, the proposal insisted on the need for tailor-made solutions for meeting these challenges. This is a careful contemplation and consideration of the importance of caring for all stakeholders with different needs and leaving no one behind. To buttress these thoughts, the author argued for global solidarity at a macro level. Institutionally, the author aptly highlighted the idea of global functionalism. 

Individually, the author highlighted inculcating a shared concern for self and others. This combination may build the resilience needed to manage future crises. In this context, both individual and collective resilience are needed to manage the global reality that humankind live in today. This ties in and complements efforts in reaching consensus to manage these crises through locating the common denominators that can unite all stakeholders. 

Besides intangible and esoteric mind-sets, the proposal also touched on tangible points like the need for job creation and coordination in economic recovery. The presenter’s call for East Asian cooperation contributes to these functional areas in the context of pandemic recovery. Collaborations in global commons issues is absolutely essential and this comes across in the proposal. Perhaps, the strength of the proposal is that it is not distracted by an overprivileged emphasis on pandemic recovery, and instead, continues its focus on pre-pandemic challenges such as climate change. There is therefore continuity in terms of sustained attention/focus on other global issues. 

Finally, the argument that the future consists of our youths and their endeavours is highlighted by the author of the proposal when he articulated that there is much institutional innovation in rotating the UN (United Nations) Youth council management/leadership membership amongst UN member states. This provides youths, the inheritors of the Earth, a chance to articulate their concerns. The author’s organization and its contribution to this area was also mentioned in the proposal.