Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
History & Philosophy
Stories and reflections on the Buddhist approach to life
The exhibition “From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit” was created by Soka Gakkai International (SGI) in 2007 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Soka Gakkai Second President Josei Toda’s Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (made on September 8, 1957).
The exhibition was launched on September 8, 2007, in New York as the opening of a decade of action by the world’s people for nuclear abolition, at a civil society forum specifically aimed at mobilizing youth.
It has been shown in a total of 200 venues in 24 countries, including showings at the UN Office at Geneva and The Parliament House in Wellington, New Zealand.
The lack of political will among the nuclear weapons states is a critical impediment to nuclear disarmament. At the same time, the lack of interest and weakened sense of urgency among the world’s people are also key factors.
With the aim of raising people’s awareness about nuclear disarmament, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda proposed a “Decade of Action by the World’s People for Nuclear Abolition” in August 2006 to be declared by the UN and actively supported by civil society. In line with this proposal, SGI is developing various educational tools such as exhibitions, volumes of nuclear survivors’ testimonies, DVD resources and publications to show what each individual can do for nuclear abolition. These materials are particularly aimed at the new generation, at youth. A website on the People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition has also been created, see www.peoplesdecade.org
SGI will continue to raise awareness in order to tackle this crucial issue, in collaboration with other ongoing initiatives such as ICAN (the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) and like-minded groups and individuals calling for nuclear abolition.
1. To communicate the links between the nuclear weapons issue and human security, placing nuclear abolition at the heart of the work of building a culture of peace
2. To galvanize public opinion towards the abolition of nuclear weapons and the creation of a culture of peace and empower viewers to take action toward this end.
The exhibition—available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Thai—consists of four sections with a total of 36 panels.
Nuclear weapons stand at the top of the pyramid of violence, the pervasive influence of which hangs heavily over our daily lives as conflicts between communities, distrust, crime, domestic violence and abuse. At the bottom of this pyramid lies the silent, passive form of violence that is a lack of concern for others’ sufferings.
The exhibition emphasizes that the fundamental solution to the nuclear issue—as well as a transformation from arms-based security to human security, from a culture of war to a culture of peace—requires a change in the human heart and that we triumph over violence.
SGI’s work on disarmament is characterized by grassroots education. These activities, which have been carried out on a global scale, include petition drives, traveling public exhibitions, seminars and publications.
The earlier exhibition organized by SGI, “Nuclear Arms: Threat to Our World,” was first presented in 1982 at the UN Headquarters in New York in order to communicate the devastation wreaked by nuclear weapons. Together with an updated version launched in 1996, the exhibition toured a total of 39 cities in 24 countries until 2002, being seen by over 1.7 million people including citizens of nuclear powers such as the United States, the former Soviet Union, France, China and India.
The “War and Peace” exhibition was SGI’s attempt to show how the nuclear weapons issue is interconnected with other global issues such as poverty and climate change which threaten human security today. It was launched at the UN Headquarters in 1989 and shown in 13 cities in 5 countries up to 1993.
The “Linus Pauling and the Twentieth Century” exhibition portrayed one extraordinary individual who dedicated his life to the abolition of nuclear weapons, in order to inspire viewers to strive for peace. Between 1998 and 2003, it was viewed by more than one million people at various venues worldwide including the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and the UN Office at Geneva during the NPT PrepCom.
For further information, please send an email to contact[at]peacesgi.org.