Mission & History

The ARI Mission Statement

The mission of the Asian Rural Institute is to build
an environmentally healthy, just and peaceful world,
in which each person can live to his or her fullest potential.

This mission is rooted in the love of Jesus Christ.

To carry out this mission,
we nurture and train rural leaders for a life of sharing.

Leaders, both women and men, who live and work
in grassroots rural communities primarily in Asia, Africa and the Pacific,
form a community of learning each year together with staff and other residents.

Through community-based learning we study the best ways
for rural people to share and enhance local resources
and abilities for the common good.

We present a challenge to ourselves and to the whole world
in our approach to food and life.

Motto: “That We May Live Together.”


ARI was established in its present location in 1973 based on the Southeast Asia Christian Rural Leaders Training Course at Theological Seminary for Rural Mission in Machida, Tokyo.

It started as an international organization training leaders who engage in rural development in developing countries, to satisfy the demand for training by Christian churches and groups that had already taken part in rural development in Southeast Asian countries. The foundation was supported by Japanese, European and American Christian churches and other groups. Since 1996, ARI has also accepted Japanese participants who intend to serve rural communities in the future – either in Japan or worldwide.


1985 June. Gretchen DeVries received the Antoinette Brown Award from the United Church of Christ in USA.
1988 March. Toshihiro Takami was awarded with Shimotsuke Prefectural Citizen Prize.
1988 July. ARI received the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for its effort in promoting international exchange.
1994 June. Toshihiro Takami received the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize.
1996 Aug. Toshihiro Takami was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding.
1998 Apr. ARI received a special prize for social contribution from the Tochigi Association of Corporate Executives.

2001 Sept. ARI received the Mainichi Newspaper International Exchange Award.
2001 Nov. ARI’s community development work in Negros Island, the Philippines was chosen as “Project of the year” at the International Cooperation Festival in Tokyo.
2006 Oct. ARI received the Asia Pacific “Culture Prize” of the Asia Pacific Forum
Iue Memorial.
2008 Apr. Received the 14th Distinguished Services Prize from the Japan Ecumenical Association.
2009 Feb. Received the Asahi Social Welfare Prize for the year 2008.
2012 Oct. Takami received the William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice
– Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut