Peace and Disarmament
SGI Exhibition on Nuclear Abolition Shown in Vienna
The exhibition "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" opened at the Vienna International Centre, home to leading UN agencies confronting the challenges of nuclear weapons on October 4. The exhibition was cosponsored by SGI and the NGO Committee on Peace, Vienna, and was on display until October 15.
Following a performance of classical pieces and folksongs by a choir of junior high school students from the Musikgymnasium Wien, Maher Nasser, director of the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, shared welcoming remarks in which he reaffirmed the UN's commitment to the interrelated goals of human security and disarmament.
Hiromasa Ikeda, vice president of SGI, then introduced a message from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in which he noted that SGI has focused its efforts on "challenging those aspects of our collective mentality that, consciously or unconsciously, accept the continued existence of nuclear weapons" and repeated his call for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) to legally ban these weapons of mass destruction.
Genxin Li, Director of the Division for External Relations and Legal Affairs for the Comprehensive Test-Ban-Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Preparatory Commission, thanked the organizers and noted that the CTBT had, since it was opened for signature in 1996, acted to prevent further nuclear weapons tests, more than 2,000 of which had been conducted to that point.
Ana Maria Cetto, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), welcomed the exhibition's focus on tackling the "silent violence of apathy" and on building human security, saying, "In the IAEA, we are convinced that ensuring human security is key to ensuring global peace."
Ambassador Helmut Böck, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations in Vienna, noted that "the ultimate beneficiaries of disarmament are the people" and expressed his support for the exhibition's message that a transformation of the human spirit was necessary in order to build a culture of peace.
In his remarks, Klaus Renoldner, Chairperson of the NGO Committee on Peace, Vienna, noted that, as a physician, he was clearly conscious of nuclear weapons as a "disease" for which there is no treatment. "There is only prevention, and prevention in this case means abolition."
The exhibition was launched in September 2007, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the call for nuclear weapons abolition issued by second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda. It has since been seen in more than 200 cities in 24 countries. Details of the exhibition can be seen at the http://www.peoplesdecade.org/, the official site for the People's Decade for Nuclear Abolition campaign.
[From a report from the SGI Office of Public Information, Japan; photos courtesy of SGI Office of Public Information]