UNITAR Hiroshima Office - Capacity Building Going from Strength to Strength
Located in the City of Peace, the UNITAR Hiroshima Office had an extremely successful 2015, delivering more training to more beneficiaries in more countries, and increasing its engagement with the local community. Under the leadership of its Head, Ms. Mihoko Kumamoto, 2015 saw the Hiroshima Office (HO) engage with a broader range of donors and partners, diversify its training portfolio, and begin training in new countries. HO also continued developing its training and local engagement with a range of community and international organizations, including the appointment of a UNITAR Goodwill Ambassador Mr. Hideki Kuroda, and collaborations with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp Baseball Team, Rotary International District 2710 and USAID. Ms. Kumamoto said that "the Hiroshima Office’s aim is to share with beneficiaries from post-conflict countries the capacity building expertise of UNITAR, combined with the reconstruction experience and peace story of Hiroshima.”
HO increased and diversified its training programmes during 2015, including launching new training programs in Africa, including South Sudan, and the Sahel region, and expanded its thematic coverage to include sports leadership for women, and nuclear disarmament. The number of training workshops facilitated doubled to 12 workshops in 2015, with training held in locations ranging from Afghanistan, Japan, Senegal, South Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.
The UNITAR Afghanistan Fellowship Programme and the UNITAR Series on Management and Conservation of World Heritage Sites, which both began in 2003, successfully finished their 12th annual cycles. The Afghanistan Fellowship has now trained more than 580 Afghans in leadership, management, and the professional skills necessary for the effective governance of Afghanistan, and led to more than 70 projects being funded and implemented. The World Heritage Sites programme, with over 380 Alumni, continues to offer innovative approaches to heritage conservation.
With 2015 representing the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, HO launched, in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR); United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD); and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a unique disarmament and negotiation training programme, the UNITAR Hiroshima Training Programme on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation for South East Asia. The strength of the partnerships and the success of the 2015 programme has already led to the groundwork being laid for continuing the programme on an annual basis.
With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan, HO launched several new training programs in Africa, including the UNITAR South Sudan Fellowship Programme and the UNITAR Law Enforcement Anti-Corruption Training Programme for the Sahel Region. Building on the experience and lessons learnt from the Afghanistan Fellowship, the South Sudan Fellowship builds the leadership and project management skills of young professionals from government and civil society organizations in South Sudan. The Law Enforcement Anti-Corruption programme trains key government officials involved with the justice system from eight countries from the Sahel region, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal, on coalition building and anti-corruption best-practice.
Focusing on women’s leadership, HO launched, in collaboration with USAID Women’s Development Project, the UNITAR Leadership and Communication Training Programme for the Afghanistan Women's Football Team. The programme built the capacities, on and off the field, of the team through formal training, and through a sports exchange with the Hiroshima Angeviolet Women’s Football Team.
During 2015, HO increased its engagement with the local community, through a variety of outreach activities.
To promote UNITAR’s and Hiroshima’s message of peace and reconstruction, Mr. Hiroki Kuroda, a Japanese professional baseball pitcher currently playing for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, was appointed UNITAR Goodwill Ambassador in September 2015. The UNITAR Youth Ambassador programme continues to be very successful in exposing the next generation to international issues and communities. The two 2015 UNITAR Youth Ambassadors, Ms. Ayano Morishita and Ms. Kanae Sasaki, have been very active, participating in a range of events, including visiting Embassies in Tokyo, engaging with beneficiaries during training programmes, and sharing their messages of peace at the International Youth Peace Conference.
To celebrate and share International Peace Day with the community, HO collaborated again this year with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp Baseball Team and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at the Mazda Stadium in Hiroshima. HO also continued the successful Afghanistan Photo Exhibition, holding exhibitions at the United Nations University, Tokyo and the Hiroshima Kenmin Gallery.
In 2015, HO delivered 20 public lectures to over 2100 people, and held 4 public sessions on key topics of public interest, including nuclear disarmament and women's leadership, with more than 400 attendees. In addition, the UNITAR/USAID-sponsored football “Peace Match” between the Afghanistan National Women’s Team and the Hiroshima Angeviolet women’s team was attended by over 500 people.
In 2016, HO is set to further diversify and increase the number of training workshops it delivers, and expand the beneficiary countries. The training programmes are being designed to support the 2030 Agenda and work towards fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals. HO also looks forward to deepening its engagement and interactions with the local community, and has already delivered two public sessions this year on topical issues: ‘South Sudan: Achievements and Challenges’, and the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’.
Photos from top to bottom: UNITAR HO Team with Executive Director Nikhil Seth; UNITAR Afghanistan Fellows; UNITAR South Sudan Fellows; UNITAR Hiroshima Training Programme for the Sahel Region participants; UNITAR Goodwill Ambassador Kuroda with HO Head Ms. Kumamoto; Afhganistan National Women's Football Team and Hiroshima Angeviolet.