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Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden to Present Peace Symposia in Cape Town & Johannesburg

A scene from the Johannesburg Peace Symposium. Photo by Paula Zapata.

Note: This press release now includes photos of the event after it has taken place. An article about the symposia in Johannesburg and Cape Town can be found here.

PORTLAND, Ore.—November 21, 2023—Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden, a nonprofit public garden and cultural organization based out of Portland, Oregon in the United States, is excited to announce two Peace Symposia that will take place in Cape Town (30/11/2023) and Johannesburg (04/12/2023). Japan Institute’s Peace Symposia series is the signature event of its Peace Program.

These free and public symposia inspire conversations about peace through the lens of cultural diplomacy by exploring the interplay between and convergence of landscapes, architecture, and arts. Based off the success of Portland Japanese Garden’s 60 years of fostering better understanding of Japanese culture following the tragedies and social strife of World War II, Japan Institute has assembled these gatherings to explore how cultural institutions and public spaces can be platforms for peace-building and community engagement. Ultimately, Japan Institute will hold six Peace Symposia on six continents – the first was in Tokyo, Japan, and the second was in London, U.K. New York, New York, U.S. was the third, followed by these in South Africa.

The Cape Town and Johannesburg Peace Symposia are done in collaboration with the Nobel Peace Center and over a dozen South African partner organizations and will also honor the South Africa’s Peace Prize laureates, Chief Albert Luthuli, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President F.W. de Klerk, and President Nelson Mandela. They will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, and commissioned poetry readings.

Cape Town Peace Symposium

Date: Thursday, November 30th
Time: 1:30pm – 6:30pm SAST
Location: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Address: Wynberg NU (2), Cape Town, 7824, South Africa
Tickets & Registration: This is a free public event. Registration is required.
Information on the Cape Town program and speakers can be found here.

Johannesburg Peace Symposium

Date: Monday, December 4th
Time: 1:30pm – 6:30pm SAST, followed by Catered Networking Reception
Location: The Venue, Houghton Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa
Address: Lloys Ellis Ave, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, 2198, South Africa
Tickets & Registration: This is a free public event. Registration is required.
Information on the Johannesburg program and speakers can be found here.

Update: Photos from Japan Institute’s South Africa Peace Programming

  • Siphokazi Jonas reciting a commissioned poem.
  • Lungi Morrison speaking at a podium in Cape Town.
  • Steve Bloom standing on a stage speaking to attendees of a peace symposium in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • A large group from Portland Japanese Garden and Japan Institute along with local partners in Johannesburg, South Africa after the 2 organizations planted a tree there.

More Information

Visual Assets

Images can be found in this Dropbox folder. Photographer name is in the file name. Please stylize the credit as “Courtesy of Portland Japanese Garden, photo by [fill in name].” 

Media Contact

Will Lerner | Communications Specialist | +1 (503) 542-9351 |

About 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.  

About Japan Institute

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

Portland Japanese Garden and Japan Institute share the mission: 

Inspiring Harmony & Peace