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Geneva, Switzerland, May 1, 2008: "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit," an exhibition examining the nuclear weapons issue through the lens of human security, opened yesterday at the UN Office at Geneva. Held in conjunction with the second session of the Preparatory Committee of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the opening was attended by numerous diplomats and nuclear disarmament activists.
Despite the end of the Cold War almost 20 years ago, the spread of nuclear weapons technology has actually increased the threat that they may be used. The exhibition's 36 panels highlight the dire realities of nuclear weapons, the pitfalls of a militarized way of thinking and the human needs that could be met by reducing spending on weapons. The exhibition was created by Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a Buddhist organization with a 50-year track record of efforts for nuclear disarmament.
Speaking at the opening, chairperson of the second session Ambassador Volodymyr Yel'chenko of Ukraine commented, "This exhibition is good proof of what NGOs can do to promote the NPT principles." Other speakers were Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and Susi Snyder, president of the Geneva NGO Committee on Disarmament.
In a message, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda stressed the importance of dialogue at all levels, which inspires and strengthens human qualities such as empathy, solidarity and responsibility that are essential to developing and sustaining a lasting culture of peace.
The exhibition has been shown in New York, Malaysia, Canada and at New Zealand's parliament building, and it is slated to be seen in 30 countries in 8 languages. The current showing, the first in Europe, continues until May 9.
related article Education for Human Rights, Disarmament, Sustainability Are Key--SGI President Issues Annual Peace Proposal In his annual peace proposal issued today, Daisaku Ikeda, president of the SGI, urges renewed efforts to promote education for human rights, disarmament and sustainable development. In Ikeda's view, education that focuses on such global issues as peace and elimination of poverty "forms the basis for cooperative efforts to build a sustainable human society, one that we can pass on to future generations." Soka Gakkai Vice President Hirotsugu Terasaki comments, "Nuclear disarmament is the ultimate human security challenge. It is vital to inspire people, especially youth, to engage in the work of ridding the world of these abhorrent weapons. We hope to help generate a groundswell toward nuclear abolition."
SGI is a Buddhist association with 12 million members in over 190 countries and territories around the world. Its efforts to promote peace, culture and education are part of the longstanding tradition of Buddhist humanism.
Source: Soka Gakkai International
Contact: Joan Anderson
Office of Public Information
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