S-CAR, combined with his extensive experience in the conflict field, also prepared him for his current position as a United Nations Senior Mediation Adviser. He was selected from a global pool of 400 candidates to join a small multi-national team of mediation experts.
While a career in academia remained essential for Arai, practice in the field was equally important to him. He had already established himself as an accomplished practitioner with extensive experience for Japanese and international non-government organizations in Africa.
After earning his doctorate in 2005 at S-CAR, Aria spent well over a decade in applied peacemaking, working in Nigeria, Lebanon, Myanmar and Afghanistan, as well as on a Sino-Japan conflict in the South China Sea with fellow S-CAR alumnus Zheng Wang.
“In fact, I worked in over 20 different countries,” Arai said.
As of last year, he is now in a position that calls for him to be on call to negotiate with world leaders and conflict parties at a moment’s notice.
“The reason why they offered me the position is because of my cumulative experience and some of the most difficult conflict situations I have been in.”
“This is a very prestigious appointment,” said Kevin Avruch, dean of Mason’s S-CAR. “Tats, as we call him, was chosen after a rigorous selection process. One of his skills is to work with policy makers and political leaders at high levels of government. They respect his experience and knowledge, along with a gentle demeanor that belies a fierce commitment to peace and nonviolence.”
Being what he called “a peace envoy for the world” is as rewarding as he hoped, maybe more so.
“It’s a wonderful experience to be able to have your knowledge translated into concrete opportunities where world leaders of action hear your ideas,” he said.