Peace and Disarmament
A Day of Peace in Hawaii
On April 21, 2007, in Honolulu, Hawaii, the School of Architecture at the University of Hawaii was the site of the SGI-USA's Aloha Peace Community Forum, held in conjunction with the opening of the "Creating a Culture of Peace: The Right to Human Security" exhibition at the university's Sinclair Library. Both events supported the United Nations Culture of Peace Initiative, which aims to "make peace a practical reality for the children of this and future generations."
SGI-Peace 21, the SGI-USA student club on campus, the United Nations Association-USA Hawaii Division and the SGI-USA International Committee of Artists for Peace were organizers of the event. State Representative Lyla Berg introduced congratulatory messages from the Hawaii State Legislature and presented awards from the legislature to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in recognition of the SGI's global peace movement and to UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chowdhury for his lifelong dedication to the "architecture of peace."
In his keynote address, Dr. Chowdhury remarked, "Hawaii has a rich history of people living in harmony. There is a lot to learn from the way the people of Hawaii live and I'm happy the peace forum is being held here." He stressed that we live in an unequal world and each individual has a role in ensuring security. Another of the forum's speakers, Dr. Linus Pauling Jr., psychiatrist and eldest son of the late Nobel Prize-winning scientist and humanitarian Linus Pauling, spoke about education as being fundamental to positive change. A third speaker, Dr. Ha'aheo Guanson, vice president of the Center for Global Nonviolence, noted there is a great need for peace education and that second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda's vision for a conflict-free world is being carried on by the Toda Peace Institute, which has a branch in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The event then moved to Sinclair Library for the opening of the "Creating a Culture of Peace: The Right to Human Security" exhibition that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Josei Toda's antinuclear declaration in 1957. At that time, Mr. Toda denounced nuclear weapons, stating that they posed a threat to humanity's fundamental right to life. Library Head Gregg Geary welcomed everyone, stating "My hope is that [the exhibit] will prompt all who see it to reflect on the idea of peace and to ponder its meaning."
Sharing his impressions of the day's activities, Dr. Chowdhury remarked, "I feel energized by this wonderful Aloha Peace Forum organized by the SGI and the United Nations Association. I believe that there is a strong energy for building a culture of peace."
Coinciding with the Aloha Peace Forum, more than 1,800 SGI-USA members from California, Nevada, Guam and Hawaii gathered for Pacific Zone general meetings at the SGI-USA Hawaii Culture Center. The two back-to-back meetings commemorated May 3rd, Soka Gakkai Day, and celebrated the 47th anniversary of Mr. Ikeda's inauguration as third Soka Gakkai president. The participants were treated to hula and hip hop dances performed by youth members. The meetings also saw the launch of the second phase of SGI-USA's Victory Over Violence campaign, with each participant being encouraged to make a personal pledge to value their own life, respect all life, actively pursue dialogue and inspire hope in others.
[Adapted from articles by Sheren Nakashima and Eddie Nako in the May 3, 2007 issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA]