The Asian Rural Institute (ARI) is a training center for Rural Leaders.
Founded in 1973 by Rev. Dr. Toshihiro Takami the aim of the program is to invite and train local grassroots leaders to more effectively serve in their communities as they work for the poor, the hungry, and the marginalized.
Each year from April to December we bring together about 30 leaders from countries primarily in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific to take part in our Rural Leaders Training Program.
The training focuses on sustainable agriculture through integrated organic farming techniques, community building, and servant leadership. It is community based and hands-on learning is emphasized in all areas. Working together we grow and share our own food.
At the heart of the program is the concept of ‘Foodlife‘ – a term designed to recognize and value the interdependency between life and the food that sustains all life.
A non-traditional school
The Asian Rural Institute is a training institute duly registered with the Japanese Government. Our training methods, however, are quite different from what you might find at a traditional school, college, or university. We do not provide an academic degree, nor do we promote so-called “modern” agricultural technology which depends on chemical inputs or large scale monocultures. Much of the learning takes place through the simple acts of living in community, working on an organic farm, and sharing food. ARI is a non-profit educational organization, officially registered as a Senmon Gakko (専門学校) by the prefecture of Tochigi, Japan.
“The Asian Rural Institute is an astonishing place. People come here from all over the world, and settle down together to live and create a learning community for a year of sometimes wrenching personal growth. We work together to grow our own food: the grains, vegetables, livestock and fish that we cook and eat together in our dining hall. We work together to create learning and as our mission statement says “study the best ways for rural people to share and enhance resources and abilities for the common good.” The people who come here each year to participate in the training course come from some of the most isolated, deprived, war-torn and desperate places on Earth. They come because they are motivated by a dream to serve their people; a dream of learning to build a better life with enough food, a strong, healthy family, a supportive community, and a voice in determining their own futures.”
Nancy Molin Former missionary to ARI
Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)