Peace and Disarmament
Exhibition on Nuclear Abolition Shown in USA, Hong Kong and Canada
On October 5, 2009, the SGI exhibition "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" opened at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. The 36-panel exhibition addresses the dangers of nuclear weapons and the role that ordinary citizens can play in creating a culture of peace.
The Living Buddhism Organization, an SGI-USA student club at Yale University, sponsored the exhibition in partnership with the Peabody Museum of Natural History and the Yale chapter of Amnesty International. More than 150 people attended the event.
Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, recounted her story and told the audience how her experience inspired her to become a social worker and dedicate her life to educating others about the dangers of nuclear weapons and the importance of building peace.
Following the presentation at Yale, the exhibition was also displayed at the Courtland Seymour Wilson Branch Library in New Haven. The event echoed themes in SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's five-point nuclear disarmament proposal "Building Global Solidarity Toward Nuclear Abolition" issued on September 8 of this year. In it, he writes: "Raising one's voice or taking action is something we all can do. All that is required are the natural feelings shared by people everywhere: the desire to live in peace, the wish to protect those we love, the determination to spare the world's children needless suffering."
From October 16-18, the exhibition was shown at the SGI-Canada Caledon Center for Culture and Education in Caledon, Canada, and was attended by 170 people.
The exhibition was also shown from October 13-20 at the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIE) Central Plaza in Hong Kong. The showing was co-sponsored by SGI-Hong Kong and the Centre for Religious and Spirituality Education (CRSE). SGI-Hong Kong members volunteered as guides for the exhibition, which was attended by approximately 1,000 people.
"From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" was created by the SGI in 2007 as a tool to help raise people's awareness toward nuclear abolition, commemorating the 50th anniversary of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda's declaration calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons made on September 8, 1957. Available in eight languages, the exhibition has been shown at various venues in the USA, Malaysia, Canada and the New Zealand's parliament building, and is slated to tour 30 countries.
[Adapted from an article in the October 23, 2009, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA, a report from SGI-Hong Kong and an article from the November 2009 issue of SGI-Canada Online News; photos courtesy of World Tribune and SGI-Hong Kong]