Asia-Pacific Peace Research Association (APPRA)
was founded 5 Dec 1980, Yokohama (Japan), under the name Asian Peace Research Association (APRA), as a successor body to Asian Council of Peace Research (ACPR), set up in 1974 [Union of International Association ID Number H-XH8221]. Present name adopted 4 Feb 1992. Regional Association ofInternational Peace Research Association (IPRA).

Asia-Pacific Peace Research Association (APPRA) is one of the 5 regional organizations under the umbrella organization International Peace Research Association (IPRA). The APPRA has a mission to contribute to the realization of the fullness of peace, justice and humanity through peace research; peace education; and peace advocacy. Thus, APPRA focuses to advance interdisciplinary research on the conditions of peace and the causes of war and violence in all their manifestations. To this end APPRA facilitates international collaboration designed to assist the advancement of peace research, education and action, and in particular to promote national and international studies and teachings relating to the pursuit of international peace in accordance with the principle of freedom of scientific research; and to facilitate contacts between peace researchers, educators and advocates as well as specialists in conflict resolution throughout the Asia-Pacific region, the aim of these contacts being the enhancement of peace research, peace education and peace advocacy.

Since 1980, the APPRA activities and conferences are organized to facilitate contacts among the multi-disciplinary group of peace builders so as to enhance their endeavors for obtaining and sustaining peace in their countries, the region and the world as well as to encourage the international dissemination of research results, information and documentation of significant developments of actions for peace.

A Decade of Establishment: 1980-1990

Yoshikazu Sakamoto, then IPRA Secretary General (1979-1983), convened the 9th International Peace Research Association (IPRA) Conference in December 1980 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. The conference participants from the Asia-Pacific regions at the IPRA Conference in Yokohama (Japan) founded a regional affiliate of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) on December 5, 1980 with the name “Asia Peace Research Association (APRA)”.  Takeshi Ishida (1980-1984) was elected as the first Secretary- General for 1980-1984 term and the secretariat was located in Yokohama (Japan). 

The regional members meeting in 1984 elected Yoshikazu Sakamoto as a new Secretary general for the 1984-1991 term. The secretariat was located in Tokyo for 1984-1991. In 1986, there was a move to split the association into two: South West Asia and East Asia at the IPRA meeting in Sussex (UK). This proposal was not approved by a subsequent regional meeting at the IPRA Conference (1986) in the United Kingdom. Since then the association has been a unified body. [Prof. Yoshikazu Sakamoto from Tokyo University passed away on 2nd October 2014.] 

Asia Peace Research Association became Asia-Pacific Peace Research Association (APPRA) 

In 1991, the regional meeting at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, (New Zealand) expanded the scope of the regional association to embrace the Pacific. The then Asia Peace Research Association had a new name “Asia-Pacific Peace Research Association (APPRA)” to include the important Pacific region.

Prof. Kevin Clements became Secretary General during a conference at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1991. The secretariat was located in Christchurch (New Zealand) and moved with Prof. Kevin when he shifted to the Australian National University.

The period (1991-1994) was crucial for the compilation of a regional database of scholars, educators and practitioners by including new members into APPRA, significantly the inclusion of indigenous peace builders of the Pacific. The APPRA organized two major regional conferences in Christchurch (New Zealand) and Penang (Malaysia). The proceedings of the New Zealand conference (1991) were published by the United Nations University Press and some papers were published in a special issue of the Peace Review journal. Selected papers of the Penang conference (1994) were published in Pacifica, Vol. 6, No. 2.

In both Christchurch and Penang conferences, the need for regional, cultural, gender sensitivity was strongly articulated. Notwithstanding an appreciation for peace stalwarts like Johan Galtung, participants from the South stressed the importance of indigenous ways of solving conflict and building peace. The women’s perspective on peace and justice came out loud and clear. A trend to be more mindful of the rich culture of Asia and the Pacific emerged.

In the 1994 Penang Conference, Katsuya Kodama was voted into the position of APPRA Secretary General. Kodama served the leadership role from 1994 to 1998. During this time, the APPRA secretariat moved to the University of Mie (Japan). During these years the Peace Studies Association of Japan (PSAJ) itself contributed to the APPRA with its 800 members supporting both the organizations. [Prof. Katsuya Kodama passed away in 2021.]

First Woman in the APPRA Leadership

APPRA had its first woman leader in 1998. Mary Soledad L. Perpinan, of the Philippines, was elected in 1998 as Secretary- General of APPRA. She accepted the role on condition that it would not be a token position. As a woman from a developing country she was determined to work hard and overcome the difficulties of having few resources available to her when she assumed the post. She had the advantage of a lot of support from her home organization, the Third World Movement Against the Exploitation of Women (TW-MAE-W), along with Philippine NGOs, and a rich and wide network in the international arena. [Sr. Mary Soledad L. Perpinan passed away in 2011.]

With the secretariat in Metro Manila (Philippines), Sol Perpinan carried on APPRA activities utilizing the staff and facilities. Under her leadership, the APPRA became a legal entity as it was registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission which facilitated fund-sourcing during 1998-2006. The first APPRA website was set up containing the APPRA documents, conference proceedings and papers. She was successful in achieving the goal of building community among peace activists, peace educators and peace researchers through two APPRA conferences held during this period:In Tagaytay City (Philippines) on 8-10 December 2001, with the theme, Reconstructing Peace Theories and Practices in Asia and the Pacific; and in Siem Reap (Cambodia) on 22-24 August 2003, on the theme Visioning Alternatives to Violence.

The APPRA Conference 2003 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, was the first one to be captured in several video tapes. Lynne Jackson of St. Francis College (Brooklyn) documented the conference to set up an example of alternative conferencing. The 2003 conference was historic in making hierarchical divisions disappear. A high dignitary, H.E. Mrs You Ay, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Women and Veterans’ Affairs, not only welcomed the participants on 21 August 2003, but also stayed on the conference till the last day, participating fully like everyone else. The participants from 19 nationalities attended with proper gender balance as well as provision for intergenerational and interfaith dialogue. The conference observed from the Sunrise Ritual at Angkor Wat (the Hindu way) to the impressive closing Buddhist sacred ritual officiated by the Venerable Nhem Kim Teng at sunset of the 24th of August, other major religions, Islam and Christianity, took turns for morning worship. The conference created space for regional dialogue on the struggles for nonviolence in conflict-ridden areas like Burma and lasting solidarity was built as well as on the inspiring stories such as a Gulf War I veteran turned University professor, from a South Korean artist who uses life masks to erase barriers, from young doctors engaged in trauma healing in East Timor. The conference participants named the conference as a conference of experiential peace!

The APPRA conference 2005 was organized with the theme “Peace, Justice and Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific Region” on 1-2 April 2005, at the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (ACPACS), University of Queensland, Australia. The participation of Pacific islanders was a highlight of the 2005 conference. A meeting was organized in 2006 on the theme “Sixty Years After World War II: Lessons for Peace Building” on 5-7 January 2006, at the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India. This meeting was a part of the Jaipur Peace Foundation conference. 

Australian Leadership in APPRA

In 2006 Dr. John Synott from Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia was elected Secretary-General of APPRA, bringing a shift in the location of the Secretariat to Brisbane, Australia. John has been a long-term APPRA member, convenor of IPRA Commission for the Rights of Indigenous People, and the executive council of the Peace Education Commission, and on the IPRA council for several years. He was also the inaugural editor of the Journal of Peace Education and was for some years a co-editor of the IPRA newsletter. 

The 2009 APPRA Conference (September 10-12): was held at the College of Indigenous Studies, National Dong Hwa University, Shengfou, Taiwan. Professor Cheng-Feng Shih, Dean of the College and a long-term APPRA member collaborated with Dr Synott to organize and hold the conference. The conference was focussed on the theme of Innovation and Change: Peace Research, Studies and Education in Asia-Pacific. Total 48 research papers were presented and 65 delegates attended the conference. Selected Papers from the conference were edited by John Synott for a special issue of the Australian-based journal Social Alternatives and were published under the theme title Peace-building from Below in Asia-Pacific in Vol 29, No 1, 2010.

Making APPRA Inclusive through co-leadership practice

At the IPRA Biennial Meeting in Sydney in 2010, John Synott resigned as APPRA Secretary-General, having served two terms, and Professor Akihiko Kimijima of Ritsumeikan University, Japan was elected as Secretary-General of APPRA and Professor Vidya Jain of the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India, was elected to the role of Deputy Secretary General. Akihiko hosted the APPRA Conference from October 14-16, 2011 at Ritsumeikan University, Kinugasa Campus, Kyoto, Japan. The conference theme was: New Agenda for Peace Research in the Asia-Pacific. Over 78 papers and presentations were made with over 100 participants. The conference took place in the aftermath of Japan’s tsunami disaster and Fukushima nuclear reactor crisis, and initially there were concerns raised about holding the conference at all, given the crisis in Japan. Prof. Kimijima and his team decided to host the conference in spite of the circumstances and it was a resounding success with many Japanese and international participants. A focus for the conference was provided by long-term anti-nuclear activist and scholar Dr Ikuro Anzai of Ritsumeikan University in his key-note presentation Agenda for Peace Research after 3/11. In addition there were special sessions on the Japan crisis including disaster responses and the future of nuclear power.

The 2011 Conference affirmed the solidarity of APPRA members and initiated new ways for the association to move forward. In 2011, the APPRA website was redesigned and moved to the hosting at Panjab University Chandigarh (India) in collaboration between Manish Sharma, Anil Sharma and John Synott. 

A new executive body of the APPRA has been formed at the IPRA Conference 2012 in Japan. Akihiko Kimijima (Japan) and Vidya Jain (India) were elected as co-secretary generals. Bishnu Raj Upreti (Nepal), Ellen Furnari (New Zealand), Francis Daehoon Lee (S. Korea), Jennifer Oreta Santiago (Philippines), and Liu Cheng (China) were elected as council members for 2012-2014 term. 


In the leadership of Dr. Janjira Sombatpoonsiri (Thailand) and support from Prof. Chaiwat Sathanand, Thammasat University and APPRA jointly organized the APPRA conference 2013 on November 12-14 in Bangkok (Thailand). The theme of the conference was “Engaging Deadly Conflicts in Asia-Pacific with Nonviolent Alternatives”. 

The APPRA regional meeting was held during the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) 2014 in Istanbul (Turkey). The meeting elected Dr. Pradeep Dhakal (Nepal) and Dr. Janjira Sombatpoonsiri (Thailand) as new co-secretary generals for 2014-2018 term. Ravi P. Bhatia (India), Akbota Zholdasbekova (Kazakhstan), Sri Nuryanti (Indonesia), Soon Won Kang (S. Korea), and Kelli Te Maiharoa (New Zealand) were elected as council members. 

Under the leadership of Dr. Pradeep Dhakal and with support from Co-Secretary General Dr. Janjira Sombatpoonsiri as well as several other APPRA scholars, the APPRA Conference 2015 was organized in Kathmandu (Nepal) with the theme “Pathways towards Just Peace: Reinventing security, justice and democracy in Asia-Pacific” on October 9-11, 2015.  Rajib Timalsina was the convener of the conference. Nepal faced an earthquake in May 2015 affecting the entire country. At the same  time, there were border restrictions and disturbances imposed by a neighboring country in late 2015 which affected transportation, food and basic services. The conference was held successfully in a very difficult situation and ensured commitments from the peace scholars from Asia-Pacific to social justice and democracy.

Uniformly Convening APPRA Conferences 

On 23-25 August 2017, the APPRA conference was organized in Penang (Malaysia) with the theme ‘Promoting Peace and Upholding the Transcendent Dignity of the Human Person in the Asia-Pacific Region’. The APPRA conference of 1994 was also hosted in Penang (Malaysia). After 23 years, Centre for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS), Universiti Sains Malaysia hosted the APPRA conference in collaboration. Prof. Omar Farouk (Malaysia) and both co-secretaries general Dr. Pradeep Dhakal (Nepal) and Dr. Janjira Sombatpoonsiri (Thailand) coordinated the conference. There were several supporting programmes during the conferences including a poster exhibition on the theme ‘Seeds of Hope’ at USM Museum; visits to Taiping Museum; the Penang Gandhi Peace Centre (PGPC) and the Street of Harmony. 

Even though the APPRA executive committee term was for 2014-2018, the both leaders Pradeep Dhakal and Janjira Sombatpoonsiri stepped down from the leadership after successfully organizing 2 conferences. A new executive committee was formed electing Dr. Manish Sharma (India) and Sri Nuryanti (Indonesia) as new co-secretaries general for 2017-2021 term. Aslam Khan (India), Mi Cheong Stella Cheong (S. Korea), Herbert Rosana (Philippines), and Roy Tamashiro were elected as new council members.

Recent development which occurred during the last two decades in the Asia Pacific region, there were some meticulous challenges towards the existing progressive peace where it is achievable only by having consistent assessment and efforts to prevent conflict. In 2019, LIPI (Indonesia) and APPRA jointly organized the conference on 2-4 May 2019 in Jakarta (Indonesia) with the theme “Empowering Culture of Peace, Sustainable Development and Defending Democracy”. Co-secretary General Dr. Sri Nuryanti led the conference and Dr. Prisca Delima (Indonesia) supported the conference along with other team members. 

The pandemic disrupted most of the in-person events and activities in 2020-2022. The APPRA community was also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic disruption. Co-Secretaries Dr. Manish Sharma and Dr. Sri Nuryanti organized a virtual event series in 2020-2021 to engage APPRA members. 

The three-day international conference was organized by the APPRA in collaboration with University of Science and Technology, Meghalaya (India) and Indian Political Science Association on 10-12 October 2022. The conference was organized on “Redefining Peace Toward a Just, Non-violent, and Sustainable Future of the World”. The conference was coordinated and convened by Dr. Aslam Khan (India) with the leadership of co-secretaries generals Dr. Manish Sharma and Dr. Sri Nuryanti and support from Dr. Pradeep Dhakal and Rajib Timalsina. The APPRA conference 2022 elected the new Co-Secretary Generals, Rajib Timalsina (Nepal) and Kelli Te Maiharoa (new Zealand) on 12th October 2022 for 2022-2026 term. The administrative meeting of International Peace Research Association (IPRA) conference 2022 elected Aslam Khan (India), Liu Cheng (China), and Rumana Mehdi (Pakistan) Asia-Pacific council members of the APPRA.