Peace and Disarmament
Victory Over Violence Exhibition Tours High Schools in Hawaii
From January 20 to February 18, 2010, the International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP) in partnership with Victory Over Violence (VOV) presented a three-part program at 10 high schools in Hawaii with an aim to empower youth to make positive choices to counteract violence.
The program included "iChoose," a short musical produced by ICAP artists, which portrays high school students and contains the message that each of us has the power to choose, to speak up for those who have been wronged, to care for others and to be courageous in the face of peer pressure, self-doubt, depression and physical abuse. Cast members and ICAP representatives facilitated post-performance discussions. The multimedia program also includes the VOV exhibition.
On January 17, "iChoose" debuted at the Hawaii Convention Center in Waikiki, Honolulu, as part of local activities commemorating the 35th anniversary of the SGI's founding.
On January 20, more than 500 students and faculty members filled the cafeteria of Kapolei High School outside of Honolulu for the first performance of "iChoose" in its tour of high schools in Hawaii.
After the musical, the cast sat onstage and related their own experiences of confronting difficult interpersonal situations. Assistant principals Jon Lee and Hartwell Lee Loy welcomed the "iChoose" project, praising the artistic manner in which its message is conveyed.
On February 8, the "iChoose" cast and crew joined more than 800 Molokai High School students on the island of Molokai. Before the show began, 30 Molokai Hawaiian language immersion students performed the song "Oli Mahalo," a peaceful chant that echoed throughout the gym.
The VOV exhibition was also on display in the school library, where visitors were offered the opportunity to respond in writing to the messages on the exhibition panels. Elementary school students also participated and wrote about "what peace means to me" on cut out paper peace doves, which were displayed nearby.
The International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP) was founded to tap the creative power of the arts to bring about a peaceful society. Collaborating with individuals and organizations that share its mission for peace, ICAP employs dialogue and the arts to instill the ideals of humanism and nonviolence in today's youth. Since 2002, ICAP has sponsored concerts, exhibits and dialogues in support of the United Nations Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace.
Victory OverViolence (VOV) is a youth-sponsored initiative that helps young people identify and begin to counteract the root causes of violence in their own lives and in their communities. SGI-USA youth launched the VOV outreach programs in 1999 as a response to the rise in youth-related violence.
[Adapted from an article in the March 19, 2010, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA, and from the ICAP website; photo courtesy of World Tribune]