PROPOSAL: Voices for the Future

* GROUP 21


Mankind is poised at the entrance of a new millennium.

The changes that are happening around the world present both great challenges and opportunities as we take cautious yet hopeful steps into an unknown future. With genetic engineering, newly-born nuclear states, a continuing economic downswing, widespread use of the Internet, the growing influence of multi-national corporations, the reality of global warming, growing social inequalities, great advances in science, the widening onslaught of AIDS and the burdens of growing and aging populations, today's youth face an increasingly complex world.

All too often, the young of today find themselves alone in a swiftly changing world that has become increasingly more difficult for them to understand.

The proposed symposium, "Voices for the Future," will allow young people from around the world to focus on the Asia Pacific University campus in Beppu, Japan to discuss issues important to themselves and their future descendants, and to share their thoughts, hopes, ideals and fears with prominent mentors in a wide variety of fields. Concurrent meetings are being planned for students at Moscow State University and the University of California at Santa Barbara. These inter-generational dialogues will foster discussion between elders and students, giving the next generation an opportunity to contemplate the meaning of their own future while searching for answers to the important questions that lie just ahead.

The future calls for involvement and commitment by those who will be its heirs. The effect of the symposium will reach far beyond those meeting in Beppu, Moscow and Santa Barbara. An Internet website will link the conference to worldwide. In this way, young people in other countries will be able to offer comments and opinions, pose questions and focus on the issues along with their colleagues in Japan, Russia and the U.S. making "Voices for the Future" a significant international event.


Title: Voices for the Future: Sharing the Ideals and Concerns of a New Millennium

Organizers: Group 21 and Asia Pacific University of Ritsumeikan University

Robert Kowalczyk, Group 21 (Coordinator)
Ikuro Anzai, Kyoto Museum for World Peace (Honorary Advisor)
* Others to be decided at Asia Pacific University

Organizing Committee:
Philip Grant, Group 21 (Special Programs Coordinator)
Lou Spaventa, Group 21 (California Liason)
Elena Verishinina, Group 21 (Moscow Liason)
John Einarsen, Group 21
Sally McLaren, Group 21
Stewart Wachs, Group 21
Albie Sharpe, Group 21
* Others to be decided at Asia Pacific University

Main Goals: To bring together a selection of guests from such fields as cultural anthropology, peace studies, environmental issues, social psychology, education, economics and the arts in order to address important issues concerning the world's future.

To allow the youth of the world an opportunity to voice their hopes, ideas and concerns regarding their future.

To foster inter-generational dialogue by creating a meaningful dialectic between youth and its mentors.

To have a wide-ranging beneficial effect on the minds and spirits of socially concerned young people around the world.

To stimulate thought and action towards a saner and healthier physical,

Location: Asia Pacific University of Ritsumeikan University, Beppu, Japan with linkage to students at Moscow State University, Mosow, Russia and The University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Language of the Symposium: English. (Selected workshops and discussions will be conducted in Japanese or in both English and Japanese.)

Guest Speakers: Eight Guest Speakers will be invited to participate in the three day symposium. Most will be bilingual in English and Japanese.

Student Delegates: At Asia Pacific University, 30 Student Delegates will be chosen from the student body (10 Japanese and 20 from 20 foreign countries) on a volunteer/selection basis. There will be an attempt to select Delegates from each of the major areas of the world. At both Moscow State University and the University of California, on site coordinators will gather groups of between 10 and 30 additional Delegates who will join the conference through website postings, information, discussions and photographs.

Student Participants: Besides the Delegates, all members of the studentbody of Asia Pacific University will be welcome to join in the talks, workshops and discussions. This will also be true for individuals from Moscow, Santa Barbara and elsewhere who would like to join the symposium by submitting thoughts and opinions through the Internet website.

Local Citizen Participation: The symposium will be open to members of the public. On Saturday, December 8th, Free Discussion Talks will be held throughout the day at various sites in Beppu City.

Worldwide Participation: Through Internet links with universities and youth organizations in as many countries as possible. Overseas students, professors and interested groups and individuals will be welcome to take an active role in the conference by participating with their questions, comments and ideas through the Internet site.

Sponsorship: Currently the project is enlisting sources of funding. Both the Japan Foundation and the Mitsubishi Bank Foundation, which supported previous G21 efforts, have expressed an interest offering support for "Voices for the Future".



From late September, the G21 website will begin to post information concerning the symposium while soliciting linkage with institutes, groups and individuals who are interested in taking an active part in the conference. The information posted will include profiles of the Guest Speakers, information concerning their talks, linkages with websites that the Guest Speakers are associated with or recommend, and issues and questions that the speakers would like to address at the symposium.

In October and November, Student Delegate discussion meetings will be held in Beppu, Moscow and Santa Barbara (one each month). These meetings will be coordinated with information listed on the website. The three Student Delegate groups will be asked to prepare for the coming symposium through group discussions and by doing individual research in their selected areas of interest. Each of the groups may also offer suggestions for enhancing the talks at APU in December.

In early November, each Delegate will be asked to send a photo, a personal profile and a statement concerning the coming symposium to the G21 website.

On December 6th, a pre-symposium meeting will be held at Asia Pacific University with the Student Delegates, coordinators and members of G21 in attendance. The meeting would be used to address any issues or problems concerning the symposium plan and as a session where the participants and organizers can get to know each other.

It is stressed that the pre-symposium meetings are an integral part of the symposium during which the Delegates get to know each other and start working as a group while researching what will be discussed at the meetings in December.


The first day, December 7th, would include:
* an Opening Address by Dr. Kazuichi Sakamoto
* a Key-note Address by a specially invited speaker
* short addresses by each of the Guest Speakers
* short reports entitled, "The View from my Country" by a selection of (7 to 10) student Delegates
* entertainment by students or professionals

Saturday, December 8th, would be devoted to workshops on the APU campus and discussion groups at selected sites in Beppu City. The entire student body and faculty of APU and the citizens of Beppu City would be invited to attend these sessions.

The afternoon of the third day, December 9th, would convene an Open Forum with the Guest Speakers, student Delegates and both university and local participants in attendance. A selected panel of both Guest Speakers and Student Delegates would be asked to make short statements. The forum would then be open to statements and/or questions from the audience. At the end of the symposium, there would be Closing Addresses by a member of the APU administration and by the G21 Coordinator. A Final Statement by a representative of the Student Delegates would close the formal proceedings.

A Coffee Hour for the Guest Panelists, student Delegates and invited guests, would follow the closing ceremonies.

A daily posting of reports on talks and photographs would be placed on the Internet website so that groups and individuals in Moscow, Santa Barbara and elsewhere would stay informed of the symposium proceedings.


An important goal of the symposium is to plant seeds for further discussion and debate among youth groups and their mentors. Therefore, the organizers will endeavor to encourage the continuation of the talks initiated at the conference by student groups in Japan and worldwide.

Internet Coverage: The Internet website will be maintained following the symposium to transmit final coverage of the meetings and to continue the dialogue between links established before and during the conference.

Discussion Groups: The symposium organizers will encourage the establishment of smaller discussion groups that can continue the work started at the conference. These groups may be centered around the individual Student Delegates that attend the conference, may be based on particular issues that were discussed, or may be formed by interested individuals and groups in Beppu, Moscow, Santa Barbara and elsewhere. Efforts will also be made to establish such groups in other countries through web site connections.

Coming Symposia: Group 21 is currently planning the following symposia
* Santa Barbara (April 2002)
* Osaka (November 2002)
* Moscow (September 2003)

Students, Guest Speakers, faculty members, and interested groups and individuals who participated in past symposia are welcome to attend any of these coming events on site or to join the proceedings through the G21 Internet website.


A revised budget is currently being prepared.


Countries and Areas from which Student Delegates may be selected:

Russia (Moscow)
The United States (Santa Barbara)
And one or more from each of the following areas:
Western Europe
Eastern Europe
Northern Africa
Southern Africa
The Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Southeast Asia
Australia / New Zealand
North America
Central America
South America
The Island Nations
and others to be decided


Candidates for Guest Speakers

Due to the short time remaining before the proposed symposium and budgetary factors, speakers who are Japan-based are currently being considered. Most of the following candidates are bilingual in English and Japanese. Group 21 is open to any other suggestions or alternatives.

AILEEN SMITH, director of Green Action, an anti-nuclear NGO based in Kyoto, and co-author with W. Eugene Smith of Minamata, a book about the ecological tragedy of mercury pollution in Kyushu, Japan. Ms. Smith was a Guest Speaker and workshop leader at "Youth at the Millennium".

ALEX KERR, essayist, calligrapher and social critic. Author of "Dogs and Demons" and "Lost Japan," Mr. Kerr is a classically trained scholar of Japanese art and culture. At the symposium he would speak on the value of traditional culture, not only in Japan but also internationally, while pointing out some of the important values that can be found in our modern cultures.

HILLEL WEINTRAUB, director of the Communications Department of Mirai University in Hakkodate, Japan. Mr. Weintraub is well known for his progessive and at times provocative educational methods. An advocate of the teaching methods of Edward de Bono, he would speak on the variety of ways knowledge is imprinted upon the individual while referring to methods which can be used to avoid the abuses of such imprinting.

KATELL GELEBART, director of Art D'eco, Netherlands. Ms. Gelebart is a designer of fashions and accessories for young people which are made from recycled materials such as postal bags, floppy discs, and x-rays. Although she is based in Amsterdam, she will be staying in Japan at the time of the symposium. One idea is to put on an eco-fashion show during the symposium using the students of APU as models.

KEIBO OIWA, cultural anthropologist who teaches International Studies at Mejigakuin University in Tokyo. Mr. Oiwa is also the co-founder of the Namakemono (Sloth) Club, which is an organization devoted to ecological studies and the slow food movement. He is the co-author (with David Suzuki) of The Japan We Never Knew and, as a member of the Action for Mangrove Reforestation, he is also involved in environmental activities in Ecuador. Mr. Oiwa conducted a popular workshop at "Youth at the Millennium".

KEN NOGUCHI is a mountain climber and environmentalist. Mr. Noguchi, at 27 years of age, has climbed all of the highest peaks on all seven continents. Recently, he has led expeditions of climbers to the slopes of Mt. Everest where they have made an effort to clean up the tons of trash that have been left behind by other climbing parties.

KINHIDE MUSHAKOUJI, professor of Ferris University, Tokyo. Professor Mushakouji attended the 1999 Kyoto symposium and spoke eloquently about the current geopolitical situation. He presented clear insights into the problems which face mankind while commenting on the positions and stratagems of those who currently hold the reins of power.

MADOKA CHASE, youthful NGO activitist, worked as a member of ASEAN, a human rights NGO, with Burmese refugees along the Thai border and was foreign affairs assistant to Japanese congresswoman Akiko Domoto. Currently, Ms. Chase is working with Mekong Watch, an environmental NGO based in Tokyo.

RACHEL ARMSTRONG is an executive director of the Peace Boat Japan organization. The Peace Boat conducts educational cruises around the world that deal with human rights, the environment and world peace. Ms. Armstrong would speak about Peace Boat activities, on board and at ports of call, and would also talk about citizen action groups in Japan and overseas.


Group 21 is a non-governmental, non-profit project whose main aim is to educate and empower young people for the coming century. The men and women of the group are volunteers of varying ages and nationalities, most of whom are associated with Japanese universities and educational institutions.

In 1997, Group 21 organized a project at the COP3 conference on global warming in Kyoto that brought together young people from twenty-one countries to express their concerns regarding the future of our planet. At that time, through an Internet and postcard campaign, the project was able to attract the attention of major news organizations in Japan and internationally. More than 12,000 postcards were sent to the group from young people of 55 countries. A selection of these cards were delivered to a public gathering of conference delegates to the COP3 conference in Kyoto and to Vice President Al Gore of the United States as part of the appeal. In addition, college-age members of the group attended the conference and were able to express their views directly to representatives from many nations.

In 1999, Group 21 organized the symposium "Youth at the Millennium" in cooperation with the Kyoto Museum for World Peace of Ritsumeikan University. At this meeting, held in Kyoto, world known speakers, including Johan Galtung, Nandini Iyer, Arun Gandhi, Satish Kumar and others, held discussions and workshops with Student Delegates from thirty countries and an audience of over 300 students and educators concerning humankind's future. The symposium was joined by many others through the G21 Internet website.

Group 21 has also organized a number of training workshops, community meetings and public forums on issues of critical concern to the world's future.

Group 21 has no political, religious or corporate affiliations.


If you should have any inquiries concerning / Group 21 and its current and future programs, please send an email to:

Mr. Robert Kowalczyk, Director, at

or mail to:

Robert Kowalczyk

Professor, Kinki University, Department of Literature
Director, Journey East
Coordinator, Group 21
International Coordinator, Japan-Korea Life Mask 2002

1-Minamigosho-cho, Okazaki
Sakyo Ku, Kyoto, Japan 606-8334

tel/fax: 81-75-771-1949
alternative email:

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