Peace and Disarmament

Back to listFeb 27, 2010

"Women and a Culture of Peace" Forum Held in Japan

100228women_peace_forum_jp.jpg Ms. Mikiko Otani

On February, 27, 2010, the Soka Gakkai Women's Peace Committee (WPC) hosted a Culture of Peace Forum titled "Women and a Culture of Peace" at the Soka International Women's Center in Tokyo, Japan.

The event observed the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. It also commemorated the UN designated International Women's Day, held annually on March 8.

Former UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chowdhury sent a message of encouragement to mark the occasion. Keynote speaker for the event was Mikiko Otani, an attorney and member of the Women's Bar Association and of the International Human Rights Law Association, Japan, and also a participant at the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly in 2006.

At the meeting, two women shared their faith-based experiences, emphasizing that women can start by creating a culture of peace in their immediate environment, such as within their homes or local communities. Participants were inspired to hear how the two women overcame their own personal struggles and became stronger, and how they were able to impart hope to those around them.

In her speech, Ms. Otani conveyed the significance of Resolution 1325, which is the first resolution ever passed by the UN Security Council that specifically addresses the impact of war on women and women's contributions to conflict resolution and sustainable peace. Prior to this resolution, women were often referred to as "victims." She also spoke about Kate Dewes from New Zealand, a pioneer of the World Court Project (WCP)—an international campaign by a network of citizen organizations—whose efforts led to a legal challenge to nuclear deterrence in the International Court of Justice.

In his message, Ambassador Chowdhury spoke about the importance of women in fostering peace in their communities and beyond, and that this significance has often been overlooked. Citing SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's 2010 Peace Proposal, Ambassador Chowdhury empathized with Mr. Ikeda's belief that the significance of Resolution 1325 lies in the fact that women's involvement is essential if lasting peace is to be realized.

Ambassador Chowdhury concluded by stating, "[S]ustainable peace is inseparable from equality between women and men. In coming years, women would and should play a more significant and substantive role in making the transition from a culture of violence to a culture of peace. We should not forget that when women are marginalized, there is little chance for a peaceful, democratic and participatory society."

[Adapted from an article in the February 28, 2010, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan, and a report from the SGI Office of Public Information; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]