Peace and Disarmament
SGI's Antinuclear Exhibition Shown at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
From February 27 to March 2, Applied Nichiren Buddhism, the SGI-USA student campus group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), sponsored a showing of SGI's anti-nuclear exhibition, "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" (THS) at the university. Nearly 100 members of the SGI-USA and MIT community, as well as local peace activists, joined the opening ceremony marking the debut of the exhibition. The event coincided with the 150th anniversary of the establishment of MIT.
Keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Jim Walsh, a research associate at MIT's Security Studies Program. He is one of the few US citizens to have traveled to North Korea and Iran to engage in dialogue with officials about pressing issues such as nuclear disarmament.
During his talk, Dr. Walsh said that very few states now seek nuclear weapons. He then gave inspiring examples of former nuclear weapons advocates who devoted the rest of their lives to nuclear disarmament and peace, including some of the Manhattan Project scientists. Dr. Walsh disputed the notion that once people choose a certain path, they adhere to it, saying, "Personal transformation is possible."
The 36-panel exhibition--from its images of child soldiers equipped with rifles and a man standing atop the rubble of the Berlin Wall flashing peace signs, to its messages of hope, change and empowerment--presents the core issues of human security and nuclear disarmament to the general public in an accessible way, highlighting the hopeful role citizens around the world can play.
During her opening remarks at the ceremony, MIT's SGI-USA student club president Mint Wongviriyawong invited the crowd to view the exhibition "not as scholars or political leaders, but through the eyes of our shared humanity." Echoing a similar sentiment, Paula Miksic, the SGI-USA East Territory Peace and Community Relations director, explained that the SGI's opposition to nuclear weapons is rooted in the profound Buddhist view of the sanctity of human life. She then urged the youth, as future leaders of the 21st century, to heed the call for peace through hope, reflection and action.
The event also included performances by oboist Sachiko Murata and guitarist Devin Ulibarri.
[Adapted from an article from the March 18, 2011, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photos courtesy of Nick Benik and SGI-USA]