Several RPS participants will join in The 5th Annual Conference of Japan Association for Human Security Studies, which will be held on 12-13 December 2015 at International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo. ICU Professor Giorgio Shani, Co-Organizer of RPS, will serve as Program Chair for the conference. Dr. Wilhelm Vosse, fellow ICU Professor and RPS II participant, will also join. The official conference theme is "Human Security: Problem-Solving and Critical Perspectives."

21 years after the publication of the 1994 Human Development Report which introduced the term to the academic and policy communities, Human Security has finally come of age. Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 and institutionalized within the UN system through the Trust Fund for Human Security, Human Security is a basic policy goal of the Japanese government. However, definitions of Human Security often appear vague and contradictory limiting its relevance to international relations and public policy. This conference seeks to critically evaluate some of the tensions which lie at the ‘vital core’ (Commission on Human Security 2003) of Human Security and to examine different ways in which the concept of Human Security can be used as an analytical tool.

To this end, it is proposed that the conference will have two main themes. The first will examine the empirical efficacy of Human Security as a ‘problem-solving theory’; a tool of International Development and Peacebuilding which can provide concrete solutions to practical problems with particular reference to health. The second theme, which will be addressed in the second plenary session, will examine the conceptual strengths and shortcomings of Human Security as ‘critical theory’; one designed not only to solve empirical problems but to transform existing social and political relations in order to make a world of ‘freedom and dignity’ (UN General Assembly 2012) possible. Of particular relevance to this theme is the relationship between the particular nature of cultural identities and the universal aspirations of Human Security. To what extent can they be reconciled and how can Human Security become more inclusive of religious, cultural and gender diversity?

The conference will feature a plenary session, special session, papers, and poster sessions. It is being co-sponsored by the Japan Association for Human Security Studies and ICU's Social Science Research Institute (SSRI). For further information on the conference, please click here.

AuthorMark Flanigan