Peace and Disarmament
"Children and a Culture of Peace" Exhibition Opens at Soka International Women's Center
"Children and a Culture of Peace Exhibition: For the Sake of Children's Happiness," created and sponsored by the Soka Gakkai Women's Peace Committee (WPC), debuted October 4 at the Soka International Women's Center in Shinanomachi, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. WPC Chair Akemi Tsukiji expressed hopes for creating an era filled with the smiles of mothers and children. Messages from UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chowdhury and Masaaki Fukuda, representative of the Japanese Chapter of Defence for Children International (DCI), UN NGO, were introduced. Following a congratulatory speech by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Japan Agnes Chan, former pop-idol, a ribbon-cutting officially opened the exhibition. Ms. Chan commented that a "culture of peace" is a basic criterion for raising children. She stressed that the present society must be transformed for the sake of children's futures. She hoped to work together with Soka Gakkai members and not lose sight of a "heart that believes in peace." The exhibition shows through October 15 before moving to other venues.
The United Nations has designated 2001-2010 the "International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World." The exhibition aims to heighten awareness about the ideals promulgated by the decade among the Japanese public through four sections titled, "Children Living in Japan," "Children Living on the Same Planet Earth," "Brilliant Lives of Children" and "For the Sake of Children's Happiness."
Some 1,000 Japanese schoolchildren reveal their inner thoughts and problems unique to children through their responses to survey questions such as "What don't you like to hear from adults?"; "What do adults say that make you happy?"; "What are some advantages of being a kid?"; "What are some disadvantages of being a kid?" Panels using diagrams, illustrations and photographs show the state of the world's poverty levels and regions of armed conflicts. Also presented are transitions in how children have come to be viewed, through UNICEF's Convention on the Rights of the Child, the first legally binding international instrument incorporating the full range of human rights--civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights--for children.
Panels also explain the ideals of Soka Education--that education exists for the happiness of children--initiated by first Soka Gakkai President and educator Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and succeeded by second and third presidents Josei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda, respectively. The exhibition carries their message that a "culture of peace" will spread through accepting children as they are and believing in their innate potential.