Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
History & Philosophy
Stories and reflections on the Buddhist approach to life
From May 1 to June 30, as part of SGI-Korea (KSGI)'s student group's UNIPEACE initiative, a specially created exhibition "Envisioning a World Free From Nuclear Weapons" was shown at some 210 venues, including 150 universities across the country. The exhibition was on display at, among others, Seoul National University and Korea University in Seoul and at other venues including Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul and Imjingak Pyeonghoa-Nuri Park in Paju city in Gyeonggi Province, near the border with North Korea.
A total of more than 186,000 people viewed the exhibition, which depicts nuclear weapons as a threat to the dignity inherent in all life and calls for their abolition. Among other notable figures, as an example of a citizen activist, the exhibition also featured a panel about American schoolgirl Samantha Smith (1972-1985). In 1982, during the Cold War, at the age of 10, Samantha wrote to Yuri Andropov, then general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to ask him if there was going to be a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the US. She received a personal reply and an invitation to visit the Soviet Union.
KSGI student members also made UNIPEACE bracelets to symbolize the wish for peace and distributed them to exhibition viewers. Signatures were also collected on a petition calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons that will be submitted at the UN Headquarters prior to the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to be held in spring 2015 at the UN Headquarters in New York.
UNIPEACE was launched by KSGI student group members in 1998 to raise young people's awareness of issues relating to peace such as the abolition of nuclear weapons and the role of dialogue.
[Adapted from a report from SGI-Korea (KSGI); photos courtesy of KSGI]
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by Olivier Urbain, director, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research