Peace and Disarmament
SGI Exhibit on Human Security and Nuclear Abolition Shown in Oslo, Norway
On April 15, 2009, the SGI's exhibition "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" opened at the Oslo City Hall Gallery, Norway.
Senior Norwegian politicians joined antinuclear campaigners in issuing a strong call for the abolition of nuclear weapons at the exhibition's opening, which was attended by around 120 diplomats, scholars and activists. Former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and current Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre spoke at the launch, together with Norwegian United Nations Association President Helga Hjetland.
Mr. Bondevik stressed the timeliness of the showing and the moral authority of an exhibition originating from Japan, the only country to have experienced nuclear weapons. "Non-proliferation and disarmament must only be steps towards the only meaningful goal: A world free of nuclear weapons--an ambition I fully support. Visitors to this exhibition have been reminded of perhaps the most important question of our time. It's about the physical and spiritual survival of humanity."
Mr. Støre also emphasized the importance of working for the very ambitious goal of nuclear abolition, commenting that as human beings we can act for good or evil and choose between a culture of violence and a culture of peace.
Hiromasa Ikeda, vice president of the SGI, introduced a message from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda which urged: "We must remind people that these weapons--which instantly rob vast numbers of people of life and inscribe a multigenerational legacy of suffering--are fundamentally incompatible with the conscience of humankind." [full message]
Later the same day, a seminar entitled "Nordic Initiatives for Nuclear Abolition" was held at the Nobel Institute, moderated by Stein Tønnesson, Director of the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). Sverre Lodgaard, Senior Research Fellow of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), emphasized the importance of serious debate on both the vision of the abolition of nuclear weapons and the means to realize it, stressing that it is essential for civil society to raise their voices and take action.
The seminar and the exhibition, which ran until April 22, were organized by the SGI, PRIO and NUPI and supported by No to Nuclear Weapons (NTA), Norwegian Physicians Against Nuclear Weapons (NLA) affiliated with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the Norwegian Pugwash Committee, the Norwegian Atlantic Committee (NAC) and the United Nations Association of Norway.
To read talking points from Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre's opening speech, please visit: http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/ud/about_mfa/minister-of-foreign-affairs-jonas-gahr-s/Speeches-and-articles/2009/exhibition_opening.html?id=555093
To read Norwegian United Nations Association President Helga Hjetland's speech, click here.
[Adapted from articles in the April 19 and 22, 2009 issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of SGI Office of Public Information]