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Institute for Solidarity-based Society (M.A. Course)

This institute—offering the first educational program of its kind in Japan—was established by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO), Japan Labor Culture Foundation and Hosei University. The institute is mainly supported by the Graduate School of Politics and the Graduate School of Public Policy and Social Governance, and will focus on such issues as a market economy based on a unified society, the desirable orientation of social systems, and the formation and development of the third sector.

Against the background of globalization and advances in information and communications technology, increased poverty and a widening disparity attributable to the failure of the market are threatening the economic community’s sustainability. It can be said that in this age when discomfort and instability are routinely experienced due to the extreme market-oriented and competitive economic model, the knowledge, power and actions of people working in solidarity for the public interest are needed more than ever.

While there is a question about how capitalism should behave, there are proposed concepts of a unified, socially oriented economy and a third sector (citizens’ sector). Great interest is focused on socially minded business entities addressing the problem of social exclusion.

The origin of these developments can be traced back to the days of Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century. Nonprofit organizations born out of traditional churches and charity bodies had the aim of improving lives made miserable through politics and the economy, and they saved the poor and others in distress. Workers organized trade unions and cooperative associations to strengthen their solidarity. Differences have evolved among them as to the principle of organization and means of achieving their goals—such as self-help or mutual help, common interest or public interest, and political and/or economic action—but they retain the common aim of creating a solidarity-based society.

The Institute for Solidarity-based Society was established under the slogan of achieving a “solidarity-based society”—as a way to link individuals and organizations torn apart by globalization and intensified competition—with the aim of fostering a true solidarity-based society that breaks down barriers between organizations.

An important goal of the institute is to develop people with policy planning and implementation capabilities who can play leading parts in NPOs, NGOs, socially minded business entities and various forms of cooperative associations and labor unions that work to support the public interest through solidarity in today’s society.

We also believe that what the institute aims to do will prove equally beneficial to people who want to be active in many different areas of society. We are trying to set up an institute open to the many persons concerned about solidarity and public interest in today’s society.

The primary objective of the institute is to develop people who will make major contributions to the public interest, and the institute’s basic policy is to open itself to all persons having such potential.

Programs to be set forth

  1. Labor Union Program
    The environment surrounding labor unions is undergoing major changes, and unions are faced with new problems all the time. How can we respond to these problems as members of civic society? In this program, students will learn to overcome difficulties through international comparison, examinations of history and actual cases and theories and mindsets, with justice and fairness as key program concepts.
  2. Cooperative Association Program
    Although Japanese cooperative associations are among the largest in the world, they have limited recognition in politics, economy and society. In this program, participants will learn about the theory and history of cooperative associations, their governance and social responsibilities, their relationships with politics and public policy, and their role in civic society.
  3. NPO Program
    The roles of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are to solve local and community problems and reform social systems, and they aim to create a civic society by realizing “new public interest.” In this program, participants will learn about the theory and history of NPOs and aspects of social relationships helpful to their development, such as network theory, collaboration and social enterprises.

Three Characteristics

  1. In close cooperation with the Graduate School of Politics and the Public Management Course of the Graduate School of Public Policy and Social Governance, the institute aims to train interdisciplinary intellects through interdisciplinary research and educational activities linking knowledge resources in the university both vertically and horizontally.
  2. Visiting lecturers active on the forefront of creating a solidarity-based society provide program participants with opportunities to learn about many actual examples and specific methods and technologies for policy realization.
  3. This is the first-ever attempt for a university to closely cooperate with various autonomous organizations of social movements existing today, including NPO/NGOs, socially minded business entities, cooperative associations and labor unions to set up a research and educational institution.

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