New York 2023 Peace Symposium: A Day Of Peace, Art, And Nature At Japan Society

August 31, 2023

Japan Society New York and Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden—two of the foremost Japanese cultural organizations in the world.

Are pleased to announce Peace Symposium New York 2023 taking place Thursday, September 21st, 2023, the United Nations’ International Day of Peace at Japan Society New York at 3:00 pm EDT. This partnership underscores the organizations’ shared belief in the power of cultural diplomacy – the act of sharing the unique gifts of a culture through arts, traditions, aspirations, and values.  

The International Peace Symposia, “Peacemaking at the Intersection of Culture, Art, and Nature” is a signature program for Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden. Each symposium features a key, in-market partner and programming that convenes leaders from numerous cultural, intellectual, and diplomatic fields to discuss the evolving role of art, cultural institutions, and public spaces as the platform for peacebuilding and community engagement.

Ultimately, Japan Institute will hold six Peace Symposia on six continents – the first was in Tokyo and the second in London. New York will be the third in this series, followed by South Africa later this year.  

The program will be followed by a reception.  


Program Overview & Registration

This is a free event that is open to the public, with advance registration required. It will take place at the headquarters of Japan Society New York, located at 333 E 47th St, New York, NY, 10017. All times EDT.  (directions from Harlem)

3:00 PM | Opening Session
Introduction & Opening Remarks

Steve Bloom, CEO, Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden

Welcome Address

Joshua Walker, PhD, President & CEO, Japan Society

3:30 PM | Keynote Speaker

Caryl Stern, Chief Impact Officer, LionTree & Former CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF

3:50 PM | Panel Discussion

Ayanna Behin, Director of Training & Conflict Consulting, New York Peace Institute
Robert Lear, Senior International Producer, Global Arts Corps
Christopher Willis, Chief Director of National Botanical Gardens, South African National Biodiversity Institute

4:35 PM | Intermission

4:50 PM | Poetry Readings

Youth Poetry Competition Winners

5:00 PM | Panel Discussion

Moderator, Thomas Hill, Clinical Professor, Director, Peace Research and Education Program Center for Global Affairs, New York University

5:30 PM | Poetry Reading

Nomi Stone, Poet

5:35 PM | Presentation on Art as Peacemaking

Hiroshi Senju, Artist

5:55 PM | Closing Remarks

Steve Bloom, CEO, Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden

6:00 PM | Catered Networking Reception  


Japan Society will host The Peace Symposium New York 2023. Tickets are now available at This event will take place inside Japan Society’s landmarked headquarters at 333 East 47th Street, one block from the United Nations. Press wanting to attend should contact Allison Rodman ( or Kazuho Yamamoto (  

Registration: Tickets are free and open to the public but require registration.  


Ayanna Behin is the Director of Training and conflict Consulting, Steve Bloom is the CEO of Portland Japanese Garden, Dr. Thomas Hill a clinical Professor at, Center for Global Affairs, New York University, Robert Lear is Senior International Producer, Hiroshi Senju is a Japanese-born, New York-based painter, Caryl Stern is Chief Impact Officer for LionTree, Nomi Stone is a poet and anthropologist and the author, Joshua W. Walker, Ph.D. became President & CEO of Japan Society, Christopher Willis is Chief Director of National Botanical Gardens.

Japan Institute’s peace programming is made possible through Robert and Deborah Zagunis.  

Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden is a nonprofit organization founded in 1963 as a place for cross-cultural understanding following World War II. A hallmark in the City of Portland and the state of Oregon, the Garden was founded on the ideals of peace and mutual understanding between peoples and cultures. Portland Japanese Garden is considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan and among the foremost Japanese cultural organizations in the world.    

Japan Institute was established in 2022 as a global cultural initiative of Portland Japanese Garden. This sibling organization is the programmatic arm of Portland Japanese Garden, allowing us to share and expand our cultural programs more broadly around the world, deepen international partnerships, and continue to engage diverse people in shared experiences and conversations about peace, beauty, and connection of nature. Japan Institute consists of three centers: Global Center for Culture and Art, International Exchange Forum, and International Japanese Garden Training Center.   

Portland Japanese Garden and Japan Institute share the mission: Inspiring Harmony & Peace  

Japan Institute 

Japan Society is the premier organization connecting Japanese arts, culture, business and society with audiences in New York and around the world. At Japan Society, we are inspired by the Japanese concept of kizuna (絆)–forging deep connections to bind people together. We are committed to telling the story of Japan while strengthening connections within New York City and building new bridges beyond. In over 100 years of work, we’ve inspired generations by establishing ourselves as pioneers in supporting international exchanges in arts and culture, business and policy, as well as education between Japan and the U.S. We strive to convene important conversations on topics that bind our two countries together, champion the next generation of innovative creators, promote mutual understanding and serve as a trusted guide for people everywhere who seek to more fully appreciate the rich complexities and abundance of Japan. From our New York headquarters, a landmark building designed by architect Junzo Yoshimura that opened to the public in 1971, we look forward to the years ahead, which will be defined by our digital and ideational impact through the kizuna that we build. Our future can only be enhanced by learning from our peers and engaging with our audiences, both near and afar.  

Photo credit:

The “Peace Lantern” (neko ashi yukimi), on the east bank of the Upper Strolling Pond 

Portland Japanese Garden. Photo by Jim Reitz  

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