What Fellows Can Expect from a Salzburg Global Program

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Jun 08, 2020
by Soila Kenya and Carla Zahra
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What Fellows Can Expect from a Salzburg Global Program

Salzburg Global Fellows Astrid Reisinger Coracini and Saya Kiba reflect on past Salzburg Global experiences From left to right - Salzburg Global Fellows Astrid Reisinger Coracini and Saya Kiba

Earlier this year, Salzburg Global Seminar and the Nippon Foundation were due to hold the first program of the Asia Peace Innovators Forum. The program aims to shape long-term peace, stability, and regional cooperation in Asia by building a network of mid-career professionals working in different sectors and countries to exchange knowledge, community-driven approaches, and best practices.

In light of the evolving situation with COVID-19, however, the program was postponed, and activities went online.

It means many Fellows set to attend their first Salzburg Global program at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria, now have to wait slightly longer. Some Fellows, however, have already had their share of "Schloss magic." Among the returning Fellows will be Astrid Reisinger Coracini and Saya Kiba.

For academics like Coracini, connecting with people at the center of issues they're dealing with from a theoretical perspective has proven invaluable. The chance to learn from individuals directly affected by her work is what inspired her to participate in the Forum.

Coracini is a lecturer at the University of Salzburg and director of the Salzburg Law School on International Criminal Law, Humanitarian Law, and Human Rights Law. Her research centers on crimes and complementarity, examining the interplay between international and national courts.

Reflecting on the Asia Peace Innovators Forum, Coracini is looking forward to meeting people with first-hand experience of the issues that she has been focusing on in her academic work. Having participated in two programs from the Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention series, she appreciates the informal interactions that take place at programs hosted by Salzburg Global.

Coracini said, "I feel it's very important to connect these two levels, the academic one and the more practical, on-the-ground approach, which I don't experience in my daily work. I've always appreciated when I come to Salzburg to discuss with people who actually work in these areas every day and have contact with the people that are experiencing those atrocities."

Saya Kiba is an associate professor at Komatsu University in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, where she teaches political science and international cooperation. She has been interested in peacebuilding and poverty in developing countries in Asia since attending university.

Her career has seen her focus on Southeast Asian studies, civil-military relations, international cooperation policies, and defense diplomacy. She has also had an extensive career in diplomacy, working with the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines and Thailand, and for a Japan-based international organization for conflict prevention.

The last Salzburg Global program Kiba attended was The Next Frontier: Transboundary Cooperation for Biodiversity and Peace. The program took place in 2016 and featured as part of the Parks for the Planet Forum.

The program Kiba attended focused on bringing together policy-makers, innovators, and influencers to find ways to build a bridge between border communities.

About her time at this program, Kiba said, "What I enjoyed the most was the free conversation and discussion. Salzburg Global Seminar allows this free discussion so we can come up with any good ideas. Various experts [in] certain regions and in certain issues shared really up-to-date information… it was very stimulating, and the network building was excellent."

Fellows of the Asia Peace Innovators Forum are in three cohorts. Coracini and Kiba are both in the first cohort. The Forum seeks to assemble mid-career professionals from the region to build durable peace on the continent for its continued development.

Commenting on the value of the Asia Peace Innovators Forum in today's world, Coracini said, "Asia is, of course, a huge region with many activities going on, both in terms of human rights and international criminal justice. While the international activities are not hugely ratified among Asian countries, there are many grassroots activities taking shape…

“A forum like this is important to show what is going on [in] the Asian continent apart from those international legal activities or in addition to them. I think that we can learn also from those grassroots activities and what impact they can have on the societies.”

Kiba, meanwhile, is hoping the Forum will enable her to share ideas from Japan on peacebuilding and give her the chance to learn more from other countries.

"Asia is more diverse than Europe in terms of religions, history, levels of economic development, and political systems. Southeast Asia is far different from EU member states, for instance," she said.

Kiba added, "We never share the common idea on regional and international order and an ideal society. Some of our neighbors prefer one-party systems or authoritarian regimes. Even "freedom" and "democracy" are not commonly shared in Asia. What we can start with is to have open minds and move to consensus-based rulemaking."


The Asia Peace Innovators Forum, held in partnership with the Nippon Foundation, brings together mid-career professionals to promote peace and reconciliation through initiatives across the region. To receive more updates about this program, sign up for the Leadership Exchange Asia Program newsletter here.