The Osaka Conference on Education (OCE)

Join us online for OCE2020!

December 15-16, 2020 | Held online from Osaka, Japan


  • Toshiya Hoshino
    Toshiya Hoshino
    Osaka University, Japan
  • Lam Peng Er
    Lam Peng Er
    East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Brendan Howe
    Brendan Howe
    Ewha Womans University, South Korea
  • Haruko Satoh
    Haruko Satoh
    Osaka University, Japan
  • Virgil Hawkins
    Virgil Hawkins
    Osaka University, Japan

Welcome to The Osaka Conference on Education (OCE), held in partnership with the IAFOR Research Centre at the Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP) at Osaka University.

IAFOR is excited to return to the great city of Osaka, that sits at the centre of the Kansai region, one of the world’s largest and most dynamic economic areas. The region is home to many great educational and scientific institutions, with the tradition of absorbing new knowledge and leading in intellectual discourse in Japan through the ages. From the ancient Buddhist training colleges of Hieizan in Kyoto to its modern heir, Kyoto University, the cutting edge labs of Riken in Kobe, to the innovative Osaka University, where the IAFOR Research Centre is housed, Kansai is the vortex of culture and learning in Japan.

In keeping with the IAFOR 2020 theme of “Embracing Diversity”, the conference will draw on the rich local context for contextualisation and inspiration, and invite scholars from the region and around the world to come together to meet and exchange the latest ideas and research, at the time of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, an event that welcomes the world to celebrate peace and unity.

Inspiring Global Research Collaborations

IAFOR's unique global platform facilitates discussion around specific subject areas, with the goal of generating new knowledge and understanding, as well as forging and expanding new international, intercultural and interdisciplinary research networks and partnerships. We have no doubt that OCE2020 will offer a remarkable opportunity for the sharing of research and best practice and for the meeting of people and ideas.

Special Announcement: OCE2020 will be held online from December 15-16, 2020

Due to ongoing international travel restrictions beyond our control, we have taken the decision to hold the inaugural Osaka Conference on Education entirely online via Zoom.

IAFOR conferences are exceptionally rich for the diverse national backgrounds of delegates, with our events usually attracting attendees from an average of 30-40 countries. While this makes the events special, it has also made them vulnerable to the international travel restrictions now in place in Japan, and which have not been properly lifted at the time of writing, meaning that the majority of delegates will not be able to make the journey to Japan.

By the December date, we are hopeful that delegates from overseas would be more able to choose to attend the event in person.

We apologise for this decision, but ask for your understanding given the unpredictable situation. We also appreciate your continued support.

We look forward to seeing you online.

The OCE2020 Organising Committee

Steve Cornwell, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) & Osaka Jogakuin University, Japan
Joseph Haldane, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), Japan
Barbara Lockee, Virginia Tech, USA
Haruko Satoh, Osaka University, Japan

IAFOR Journal of Education (Scopus Indexed Journal)

This conference is associated with the Scopus and DOAJ listed IAFOR Journal of Education.


Key Information
  • Location & Venue: The Osaka University Nakanoshima Center
  • Dates: Tuesday, December 15, 2020 ​to Wednesday, December 16, 2020
  • Early Bird Abstract Submission Deadline: March 19, 2020*
  • Final Abstract Submission Deadline: September 15, 2020
  • Registration Deadline for Presenters: November 06, 2020

*Submit early to take advantage of the discounted registration rates. Learn more about our registration options.

Present, Publish, Participate On-site or Online

Continued excellence in service, wherever you are

Over the course of the global coronavirus pandemic, our commitment to you; academics, scholars and educators around the world, was to continue to run conferences where and how possible, developing and innovating systems that would allow our attendees to engage online and in hybrid spaces, allowing those who chose not to travel, or who could not travel, opportunities to present, publish and participate online.


For us at IAFOR, the pandemic has allowed us to reimagine the conference, respecting the best of both onsite and online engagement, and the integrity of each format, and while respecting the coherence of the conference offering previously unavailable opportunities for flexibility.

Even though global policy restrictions addressing travel are loosening we will be as flexible as we can our side to allow delegates to choose between registration types between “on-site” and “online” up until six weeks before the conference, so that you can be assured that whatever your situation, you can present, publish, and participate.

About IAFOR’s Education Conferences

IAFOR promotes and facilitates new multifaceted approaches to one of the core issues of our time, namely globalisation and its many forms of growth and expansion. Awareness of how it cuts across the world of education, and its subsequent impact on societies, institutions and individuals, is a driving force in educational policies and practices across the globe. IAFOR’s conferences on education have these issues at their core. The conferences present those taking part with three unique dimensions of experience, encouraging interdisciplinary discussion, facilitating heightened intercultural awareness and promoting international exchange. In short, IAFOR’s conferences on education are about change, transformation and social justice. As IAFOR’s previous conferences on education have shown, education has the power to transform and change whilst it is also continuously transformed and changed.

Globalised education systems are becoming increasing socially, ethnically and culturally diverse. However, education is often defined through discourses embedded in Western paradigms as globalised education systems become increasingly determined by dominant knowledge economies. Policies, practices and ideologies of education help define and determine ways in which social justice is perceived and acted out. What counts as "education" and as "knowledge" can appear uncontestable but is in fact both contestable and partial. Discourses of learning and teaching regulate and normalise gendered and classed, racialised and ethnicised understandings of what learning is and who counts as a learner.

In many educational settings and contexts throughout the world, there remains an assumption that teachers are the possessors of knowledge which is to be imparted to students, and that this happens in neutral, impartial and objective ways. However, learning is about making meaning, and learners can experience the same teaching in very different ways. Students (as well as teachers) are part of complex social, cultural, political, ideological and personal circumstances, and current experiences of learning will depend in part on previous ones, as well as on age, gender, social class, culture, ethnicity, varying abilities and more.

IAFOR has several annual conferences on education across the world, exploring common themes in different ways to develop a shared research agenda which develops interdisciplinary discussion, heightens intercultural awareness and promotes international exchange.


“Inspiring Global Collaborations”

Founded in 2009, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) is a politically independent non-partisan and non-profit interdisciplinary think tank, conference organiser and publisher dedicated to encouraging interdisciplinary discussion, facilitating intercultural awareness and promoting international exchange, principally through educational interaction and academic research. Based in Japan, its main administrative office is in Nagoya, and its research centre is in the Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), a graduate school of Osaka University. IAFOR runs research programs and events in Asia, Europe and North America in partnership with universities and think tanks, and has also worked on a number of multi-sector cooperative programs and events, including collaborations with the United Nations and the Government of Japan. Read more about IAFOR.

Special Themes and Areas of Focus

Authors have the optional opportunity of identifying whether their paper addresses either the 2020 IAFOR Special Theme and/or one of the ongoing IAFOR Special Areas of Focus.

IAFOR 2020 Special Theme: “Embracing Difference”

At a time when nationalism and ethno-centrism have become ascendant ideologies and provide easy refuge from the anxieties generated by globalisation and economic uncertainty, it is far too easy to see “difference” as a problem rather than an opportunity. Yes, cultural, religious, linguistic, and social differences can make us uncomfortable. They can be frightening, unsettling, and intellectually challenging. At the same time, they are enormously generative. It is only through encountering cultures and belief systems unlike our own that we learn anything about the flaws and limitations inherent in our own perspectives.

“Difference” is the source of innovation and change. While negotiating the difficulties of seemingly incompatible belief systems may pose tremendous challenges to us all, the payoffs for actively seeking out, celebrating, and working to converse across profound differences are manifold. As we learn about others, we learn about ourselves. And through those encounters, we have the opportunity to chart a future in which difference does not lead to violence, intolerance, or retrenchment, but instead is celebrated as the source of our collective strength.

IAFOR Special Areas of Focus

In line with its organisational mission, IAFOR encourages, facilitates and nurtures interdisciplinary research, with an emphasis on international and intercultural perspectives. Current areas of focus of the organisation include the following ongoing collaborative programmes and initiatives.

Innovation and Value

The Innovation and Value Initiative is housed at the IAFOR Research Centre at the Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP) at Osaka University, Japan. It was launched at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, in a special collaborative UN/IAFOR session at the Third Annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum 2018) on June 6, 2018, and has included various conferences and seminars, including the October 2018 IAFOR Global Innovation & Value Summit (GIVS), organised in partnership with the Wall Street Journal. This theme invites reflections at the intersection of innovation and value as they relate to the conference areas of study. For more information about the Innovation and Value Initiative, click here.


IAFOR was asked by the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan to collaborate on the launch of the Kansai Resilience Forum. The forum was held in February 2019 and looked at how resilience is built in individuals and communities, through education and experience, as well as through various physical and logistical structures, enhanced by innovations in engineering and technology. This theme encourages interdisciplinary studies on the concept and reality of resilience as it relates to the conference areas of study. For more information about the Kansai Resilience Forum, click here.

The Silk Road

The IAFOR Silk Road Initiative is an ambitious international, intercultural and interdisciplinary research initiative that uses the silk road trade routes as a lens through which to study some of the world’s largest historical and contemporary geopolitical trends, shifts and exchanges. The initiative is a collaborative endeavour which includes the IAFOR Research Centre at the Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP) at Osaka University (Japan), Belgrade University (Serbia) and The École Normale Supérieure (France). This theme encourages submissions on Silk Road Studies and international cooperation in general as they relate to the conference areas of study. For more information about the IAFOR Silk Road Initiative, click here.

Toshiya Hoshino
Osaka University, Japan


His Excellency Professor Toshiya Hoshino is presently Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations in New York.

Previous to his role at the UN, Professor Hoshino was on the faculty at the Osaka School of International Public Policy (Osaka University), serving as Dean from 2011​ to ​2014, before being appointed Vice-President (International) of the University from 2014​ ​to 2016.

From August 2006 to August 2008, he served as a Minister-Counselor in charge of political affairs at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations (UN). At the UN, he was a principal advisor to the Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) when Japan assumed its chairmanship. He graduated from Sophia University, Japan, completed a Master’s at the University of Tokyo, and received his Doctorate (PhD) from Osaka University.

His previous positions​ have​ include​d​: Senior Research Fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs; Guest Scholar at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; Fellow at Stanford Japan Center, Stanford University; Visiting Fellow, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University; and ​Special Assistant (Political Affairs) at the Embassy of Japan to the United States.

He is a specialist in UN peace and security policies (conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding), human security and humanitarian issues, security in the Asia-Pacific region and Japan-US relations.

Lam Peng Er
East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore


Dr Lam Peng Er, a political scientist, obtained his PhD from Columbia University. His publications have appeared in international journals such as the Pacific Affairs, Asian Survey, Asian Affairs, Japan Forum and Government and Opposition: An International Journal of Comparative Politics. Lam's latest single-authored book is Japan's Peace Building Diplomacy in Asia: Searching for an Active Political Role (New York and London: Routledge, 2009). Other books include: Japan’s Relations with Southeast Asia: The Fukuda Doctrine and Beyond (London and New York: Routledge, 2013) edited, Japan's Relations with China: Facing a Rising Power (New York and London: Routledge, 2006) edited and Green Politics in Japan (London: Routledge, 1999). He is an executive editor of the International Relations of the Asia-Pacific (A Journal of the Japan Association of International Relations published by Oxford University Press) and Asian Journal of Peacebuilding (Journal of the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, Seoul National University).

Plenary Panel Presentation (2020) | Post COVID World and Human Security
Brendan Howe
Ewha Womans University, South Korea


Brendan Howe is Professor of International Relations and former Associate Dean and Department Chair of the Graduate School of International Studies, Ewha Womans University. South Korea. He is also currently the President of the Asian Political and International Studies Association, and an Honorary Ambassador of Public Diplomacy and advisor for the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has held visiting professorships and research fellowships at the Freie Universität Berlin, De La Salle University (Philippines), the University of Sydney, Korea National Defence University, the East-West Center (Honolulu), Georgetown University, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, and Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Educated at the University of Oxford, the University of Kent at Canterbury, Trinity College Dublin, and Georgetown University, his ongoing research agendas focus on traditional and non-traditional security in East Asia, human security, middle powers, public diplomacy, post-crisis development, comprehensive peacebuilding and conflict transformation. He has authored, co-authored, or edited more than 90 related publications including UN Governance: Peace and Human Security in Cambodia and Timor-Leste (Springer, 2020), Regional Cooperation for Peace and Development (Routledge, 2018), National Security, State Centricity, and Governance in East Asia (Springer, 2017), Peacekeeping and the Asia-Pacific (Brill, 2016), Democratic Governance in East Asia (Springer, 2015), Post-Conflict Development in East Asia (Ashgate, 2014), and The Protection and Promotion of Human Security in East Asia (Palgrave, 2013).

Plenary Panel Discussion (2020) | Post COVID World and Human Security
Haruko Satoh
Osaka University, Japan


Haruko Satoh is Specially Appointed Professor at the Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), where she teaches Japan’s relations with Asia and identity in international relations. She is also co-director of the OSIPP-IAFOR Research Centre and she was previously part of the MEXT Reinventing Japan project on “Peace and Human Security in Asia (PAHSA)” with six Southeast Asian and four Japanese universities.

In the past she has worked at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), Chatham House, and Gaiko Forum. Her interests are primarily in state theory, Japanese nationalism and identity politics. Recent publications include: “China in Japan’s Nation-state Identity” in James DJ Brown & Jeff Kingston (eds) Japan’s Foreign Relations in Asia (Routledge, 2018); “Japan’s ‘Postmodern’ Possibility with China: A View from Kansai” in Lam Peng Er (ed), China-Japan Relations in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017); “Rethinking Security in Japan: In Search of a Post-‘Postwar’ Narrative” in Jain & Lam (Eds.), Japan’s Strategic Challenges in a Changing Regional Environment (World Scientific, 2012); “Through the Looking-glass: China’s Rise as Seen from Japan”, (co-authored with Toshiya Hoshino), Journal of Asian Public Policy, 5(2), 181–198, (July 2012); “Post- 3.11 Japan: A Matter of Restoring Trust?”, ISPI Analysis No. 83 (December 2011); “Legitimacy Deficit in Japan: The Road to True Popular Sovereignty” in Kane, Loy & Patapan (Eds.), Political Legitimacy in Asia: New Leadership Challenges (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), “Japan: Re-engaging with China Meaningfully” in Tang, Li & Acharya (eds), Living with China: Regional States and China through Crises and Turning Points, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Professor Satoh is a member of IAFOR’s Academic Governing Board. She is Chair of the Politics, Law & International Relations section of the International Academic Advisory Board.

Plenary Panel Presentation (2020) | Post COVID World and Human Security
Virgil Hawkins
Osaka University, Japan


Dr Virgil Hawkins holds a PhD in International Public Policy from the Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), Osaka University, where he currently serves as associate professor. He is also a research associate with the University of the Free State, South Africa.

Before joining OSIPP, Virgil Hawkins was an assistant professor at the Global Collaboration Center, Osaka University (2007-2010), and has also served with the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA) in Cambodia (technical advisor, 2002-2004), and in Zambia (country director, 2004-2007).

Virgil Hawkins is also a co-founder of the Southern African Centre for Collaboration on Peace and Security (SACCPS). His prime research interest is in the media coverage of conflict (and the lack thereof), most notably in Africa. His most recent book is Stealth Conflicts: How the World's Worst Violence Is Ignored (Routledge, 2016).

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