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Peace and Disarmament

Back to listDec 11, 2007

Dr. Jan Øberg Speaks on Conflict Resolution in Nagoya, Japan

On December 11, 2007, Dr. Jan Øberg, cofounder and director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF), and visiting professor at the Graduate School of International Development at Nagoya University, was invited by the Soka Gakkai Chubu Youth Peace Committee to address a group of 80 local Soka Gakkai youth members in Nagoya.

Dr. Øberg stressed the need to be skeptical of the news as it is presented in the mainstream media, and to be sensitive to the use of language which is often twisted for political ends. He commented that the media tends to report only violence rather than reconciliation and peace initiatives. This leads people to feel disempowered to change difficult situations. Therefore they tend to be passive, leaving everything up to politicians.

Dr. Øberg asked his listeners to actively encourage the Japanese media to broaden its coverage of international affairs and stressed the importance of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution that renounces war as a sovereign right. He suggested that the young people read the UN Charter and study the writings of Mahatma Gandhi and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda so that they can learn the spirit of nonviolence which is vital in today's world. He also stressed that Japanese people have a unique role to play in the global effort to abolish nuclear weapons.

In conclusion, Dr. Øberg urged his audience to take concrete action for peace and offered three guidelines for action:

1) Have relevant knowledge. Be wary of news sources, study firsthand accounts.

2) Do not avoid confrontation and criticism. Have civil courage.

3) Develop constructive and concrete alternatives for conflict resolution.

[Dr. Jan Øberg was formerly secretary-general of the Danish Peace Foundation

and co-initiator of the Danish High School for Peace and the Danish Center for Conflict Resolution. Founded in 1986, and based in Sweden, TFF is a scholarly foundation working for the UN Charter norm of "peace by peaceful means." The TFF's official home page can be found at: http://www.transnational.org]

[Adapted from an article in the December 12, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]