Peace and Disarmament
SGI-USA Hawaii Sponsors "Aloha Peace Forum"
On January 23, SGI-USA Hawaii hosted the "Aloha Peace Forum--'Building Friendships for a Culture of Peace'," a free public event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the United Nations and SGI's 30th anniversary, at the SGI-USA Hawaii Culture Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. American actor Patrick Duffy and 51st (2003) Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Heather Suehiro served as emcees. Two exhibitions graced the forum: "A World Fit for Children: Children are the Future," which illustrates the "10 Imperatives for Children" created during the May 2002 UN Special Session by 4,000 youth from 154 countries; and "Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World," an SGI-USA exhibit bringing together the ideas and examples of individuals, organizations and movements dedicated to opening a path to lasting peace. The forum was interspersed with performances by award-winning singer-song writers Henry Kapono and Essra Mohawk and composer-pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs.
Keynote speaker Ved Nanda, law professor and director of the International Legal Studies Program at the University of Denver, spoke on "Challenges & Opportunities for Creating a Peaceful World." Dr. Nanda pointed out that Jan. 26 commemorates the founding of the SGI-USA, the founding of the United Nations, and India's independence from colonialism. For collective security, nations must work together. He emphasized that the true definition of peace is not merely an absence of war, but encompasses the battle against all forces threatening human dignity. He lamented that oppression of human rights and inequality, in such forms as intolerance, poverty and environmental degradation, are still deeply entrenched in today's world. Dr. Nanda also noted that no one nation can solve the world's problems. The challenges and problems that the world faces have no passports. He said that the UN, as a universal entity, has a mission to fight human inequities. Fundamentally, human beings must challenge to struggle against intolerance and hatred in themselves. Dr. Nanda pointed to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's dialogues among civilizations as being able to positively influence and transform people's thinking toward creating a culture of peace.
Prior to the keynote speech, Dr. Elaine Valdov, president of the International Institute for a Culture of Peace spoke on "Background on the UN Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World." Following Dr. Nanda, Dr. Gaye Christofferson, Pacific Asia specialist, spoke on "Finding a Culture of Peace in East Asia: Asian Multilaterisms & Cooperative Security." Danny Hall, SGI-USA young men's leader talked about the SGI-USA youth's Victory Over Violence Project and "Youth and a Culture of Peace: A Grassroots Perspective." Elif Pilon, president of the Hawaii Pacific University Global Leadership Program, followed with a talk on "Global Leadership and Cultures of Peace."
Other participants included: Dr. Majid Tehranian, director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Security and professor of international communication at the University of Hawaii; Professor Glenn D. Paige, president of the Center for Global Nonviolence, Hawaii, USA; SGI-USA General Director Daniel Nagashima; and SGI-USA Women's Leader Linda Johnson.
"Aloha Peace Forum" cosponsors were: SGI-USA--http://sgi-usa.org/; Center for Global Nonviolence--http://www.globalnonviolence.org; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition-Hawaii; HPU Global Leadership Program; Honolulu Hawaii Chapter-NAACP; Pacific Justice & Reconciliation Center; University of Hawaii Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace--http://www.peaceinstitute.hawaii.edu; United Nations Association-Hawaii Division--http://www.unahawaii.org; and University of Hawaii-United Nations Club