The 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Asia Study Tour took place successfully July 9-23, 2015. The NJ-ALPHA organized tour visited Shanghai, Zhenjiang, Nanjing, Harbin, and Beijing in China. Originally the tour was supposed to visit also Seoul. Because of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the visit to Seoul was cancelled and a couple extra days were added to Beijing. There were 17 participants from the U.S., Canada, and Hong Kong, with most being teachers/educators at the middle school, high school, and college levels. We visited and had discussions with many leading researchers, historians, activists, and legal experts on comfort women, slave laborers, Nanking Massacre, biological/chemical warfare, as well as visiting a residence of several Chinese WWII veterans (four male soldiers and one female nurse). The sessions that had the greatest impacts and were most remembered deeply by the participants were the testimonies from a former comfort woman, a former slave laborer, two victims/survivors of the Nanking Massacre, two victims/survivors of explosions from WWII-left over chemical weapons, and a daughter of a man who was murdered by the Japanese military via vivisection.
All the participants described the study tour as a life-changing, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and committed themselves to incorporate this part of history into the courses they teach and facilitate other teachers to do likewise, and help make this part of history more widely-known. The participants’ testimonies are posted in the Study Tour page.
The next Peace and Reconciliation Asia Study Tour will take place in the summer of 2017. There will not be a study tour in the summer of 2016.