Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
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On September 26, the first United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, SGI in Canada, Sweden and the U.S. participated in grassroots events in support of global nuclear disarmament. The events included exhibition showings and lectures by prominent individuals in the field. The UN established the day to enhance public awareness and education about the threat of nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination.
SGI-Canada organized a showing of the exhibition “Everything You Treasure—For a World Free from Nuclear Weapons” (EYT) at the SGI-Ottawa Centre on September 26. The exhibition, held as part of the eighth International Ottawa Peace Festival, was created by SGI and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Keynote speaker was disarmament expert Earl Turcotte, who described the exhibition as the kind of educational tool that will help to generate grassroots momentum toward the abolition of nuclear disarmament, the most pressing issue of our time. Also present at the opening ceremony was Bill Bhaneja, co-organizer of the peace festival, and Shane Roberts, vice president of the National Capital Region Branch of the United Nations Association in Canada. The exhibition was on display until September 28.
In Sweden, the UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was also marked. As part of a day of nuclear abolition-themed activities, SGI-Sweden in partnership with ICAN and the Swedish Physicians Against Nuclear Arms, sponsored a showing of the EYT anti-nuclear weapons exhibition at KTH, The Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm on September 26. A speech outlining current challenges toward a nuclear weapons-free world was given by Rolf Ekéus, chairman of the Swedish Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs and former executive chairman of the UN Special Commission on Iraq.
At the University of Wisconsin-Superior (UW-Superior) SGI’s anti-nuclear weapons exhibition “From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit” was shown between September 22 and October 3 in the university’s Swanson Hall, as part of a series of events including a peace panel discussion and a workshop. The workshop, titled “Ten Techniques for Peacemaking Every Day,” was conducted by Dr. Maria Cuzzo of the UW-Superior Department of Human Behavior, Justice and Diversity.
At the exhibition’s opening ceremony, held on September 22 and attended by about 100 people, James Herrmann, SGI-USA Midwest Leader, gave a keynote speech. He introduced key themes explored by the exhibition such as the pervasive influence of nuclear weapons at all levels of society and the importance of individual actions in fostering a culture of peace. The UW-Superior Chamber Choir also performed. The exhibition ran until October 3.
[Adapted from a report from SGI-Canada, information on the SGI-Sweden website and an article on the University of Wisconsin-Superior website; photos courtesy of SGI-Canada and SGI-Sweden]
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by Kazuo Ishiwatari and Kimiaki Kawai
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by Dennis Lee, director of Program and Community Relations, SSA