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Peace and Disarmament

Back to listDec 3, 2007

New Pugwash President Visits Soka Gakkai

Dr. Dhanapala (left) meets with Soka Gakkai President Harada (right)

Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala, the newly elected president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, visited the Soka Gakkai Headquarters on December 3, 2007, and met with Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada.

A former Sri Lankan diplomat, Dr. Dhanapala was Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) from 1987 to 1992 and Under-Secretary General for the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs from 1998 to 2003. Unanimously elected president of the Pugwash Conferences in October, Ambassador Dhanapala is determined to build on the recent signs of a revival of interest on the issue of nuclear abolition.

Mr. Harada and Ambassador Dhanapala discussed the fact that this year marked the 50th anniversary of both the founding of Pugwash and Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda's Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, announced just two months after the establishment of the Pugwash Conferences in July 1957.

Dr. Dhanapala emphasized that it is essential for the forces for peace to build a strong coalition in order to counter the formidable powers that seek war and continued buildup of arms. Remarking on his longstanding friendship with the SGI and acknowledging the SGI's educational contributions, he stated that activism and awareness-raising at the grassroots level toward nuclear abolition are vital. He expressed his expectations for stronger cooperation with the SGI toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Ambassador Dhanapala's predecessor as Pugwash president, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, and Pugwash cofounder Sir Joseph Rotblat were both dialogue partners with SGI President Ikeda.

An interview with Dr. Dhanapala on the prospects for nuclear abolition was published in the july 2007 issue of the SGI Quarterly. [See http://www.sgiquarterly.org/english/Features/quarterly/0707/feature1.htm]

[Adapted from an SGI Office of Public Information report and an article in the December 4, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]