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News & Topics
May 21, 2019

MOMRI Director Presents at the 2019 APPRA Conference in Jakarta

Report by Olivier Urbain, MOMRI Director

This year’s conference of the Asia-Pacific Peace Research Association (APPRA) was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, from May 2 to 4. The venue of the conference was the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), an ideal facility with rooms for plenaries, break-out sessions and informal meetings, as well as performance halls. Everything worked well, the technology and the relationships among all participants, and this can be attributed to the wonderful organizational skills of the two co-secretary generals, Dr. Sri Nuryanti (Indonesia) and Dr. Manish Sharma (India). I look forward to participating in APPRA 2021 and to support their outstanding leadership. (Specials thanks also go to Prisca Delima and Defbry Margiansyah of LIPI).

The neighborhood of the conference in Jakarta and the distinctive round shape of the LIPI building

The theme was “Empowering Culture of Peace, Sustainable Development and Defending Democracy.” Various aspects of this tall order were considered, but there was only one presentation directly related to music in peacebuilding. This will change at the 2021 conference for which  I have proposed to organize a panel on MOMRI’s topic: music in peacebuilding.

My own presentation was entitled “Peacebuilding through Musical Creativity & Socialization: The case of the C&S Music School in Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan.” These pictures were taken before and after the session .

Peacebuilding through Musical Creativity & Socialization
The case of the C&S Music School in Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan

Today Japanese youth is plagued with countless challenges. The C&S Music School offers musical (pop & rock) education to encourage high school students (who had given up and dropped out) to complete their studies through Creativity & Socialization (C&S). The motto of the school is “Respect for Music, Yourself, and Others.” Tentative results from MOMRI’s 2019 Pilot Research Project indicate that all students who enroll at the school do complete their high school education, and move on with their lives in various ways, and not only as musicians. Three alumni have become famous singers: Aoi Tejima (Studio Ghibli); Nobu (Sony Music); and Mikako (Avex Group). This year MOMRI focuses on one research question with data obtained through interviews of students, parents, teachers, staff and the director and founder of the school:
“What does C&S achieve and how much do they fulfill their stated mission and objectives?”

The diagram below points to the research questions we plan on tackling in 2020 and beyond. It seems that the school achieves results due to a combination of elements, one of them musicking. We want to find out about the respective roles of the musical and extra-musical elements of the school’s ecosystem of activities, and how they relate to each other. If they have found an effective formula, we want to be able to explain it.

A few other presentations were related to creativity & peacebuilding, for instance:
– Nar Bahadur Saud (Narendra) from Nepal, (standing on the far right in both pictures above), is a freelance researcher and peacebuilding practitioner (currently project evaluator to Circus Kathmandu, Nepal, in collaboration with Comic Relief, UK). He presented his research paper entitled “Storytelling and Realization: An Organic Journey to Collective Consciousness and Social Cohesion,” which focused on the role of theatre art in peacebuilding in Nepal.

– Clara Ignatia Tobing SH, MH and Rona Apriana Fajarwati SH, MH from Indonesia, (respectively first and second left in the picture below), from Bhayangkara Jakarta Raya University: “Combating Violent Extremism with Youth Grassroots Interfaith Dialogue: Observing the Bandung Lautan Damai Movement.”

– Syeda Rumana Mehdi (center in the picture below) from Pakistan: “Universe in Ecstatic Motion: the Role of Sufi Literature in Contemporary Conflict Resolution.”

Among many fascinating conversations, I found informal plans for collaborative research with Dr. Lester Kurtz very promising. Lester is professor of sociology at George Mason University Korea (GMU Korea), and has a keen interest in topics such as blues and social justice, on which he has taught some classes.

Equally promising are the informal plans discussed with Mr. Rajib Timalsina (left) and Dr. Pradeep Dhakal (center) to develop courses on Music in Peacebuilding at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Rajib is assistant professor at the department of Conflict, Peace and Development Studies at Tribhuvan University, and Pradeep is founder and director of the Chetanalaya Institute and a member-secretary of the Pashupati Area Development Trust under the Ministry of Culture and Civil Aviation.

The outstanding effectiveness of the organization of APPRA 2019 would take too long to describe, but here are a few pictures of an angklung concert, followed by a class and collective performance.

APPRA 2019 was also blessed with abundant music, song and dance.

MOMRI will continue explorations of the potential application of music in peacebuilding activities, with deep gratitude for the multidisciplinary support and collaboration extended by everyone at APPRA 2019.

(See for more pictures and some videos).