Peace and Disarmament
Harvard Hosts SGI's Antinuclear Weapons Exhibition and Forum
On November 21, the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government hosted a forum focusing on the abolition of nuclear weapons and the SGI antinuclear weapons exhibition "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" (THS). A video of interviews with atomic bomb survivors titled "Testimonies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Women Speak Out for Peace," produced by the Soka Gakkai Women's Peace Committee, was also screened at the exhibition. The event was sponsored by students of the India Caucus of the Harvard and Kennedy School Student Government.
SGI-USA East Territory young men's student leader Eric Reker introduced the way the exhibition highlights the role individuals can play toward the abolition of nuclear weapons and establishment of human security as opposed to weapons-based security. Yumi Masui, faculty member of Harvard's Department of East Asian Languages, remarked that the testimonies and calls to peace by the atomic bomb survivors provide the most powerful means to inspire action for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The themes of THS were reiterated during the panel discussion, which was moderated by SGI-USA member Erendro Singh of the Kennedy School.
Panel members included Sam Brinton, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Andy Hu, of Boston College, both founders of their respective campus chapters of Global Zero--a nonprofit, nonpartisan international movement for the total elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide. SGI-USA East Territory young women's student leader Chanikarn Wongviriyawong was also a panelist.
During the discussion session, Mr. Brinton spoke of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's assertion that a true and lasting peace can only be realized by forging bonds of trust between people.
The forum took place in the Kennedy School's Weiner Auditorium, where, in 1991, Mr. Ikeda gave his speech "The Age of Soft Power." In this speech Mr. Ikeda noted that the cultivation of an "inwardly directed spirituality" centered on the Buddhist concept of dependent origination is the key to establishing soft power--knowledge, information, culture and ideas--as the force that shapes society.
[Adapted from an article in the December 16, 2011, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photo courtesy of SGI-USA]