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In 2009, a group of 10 SGI-Italy youth members met together to study a proposal by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda about building solidarity toward nuclear abolition. Inspired by the proposal, we had the idea of bringing to Italy the SGI nuclear disarmament exhibition “From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Toward a World Free From Nuclear Weapons” that had already been shown in other countries.
In his proposal, President Ikeda wrote about creating a “wave of public opinion” against nuclear weapons. We realized that to do this, the exhibition would not be enough. This is how the Senzatomica campaign was born. The aim of the campaign is to raise public awareness about the nuclear threat and reject the idea of security based upon nuclear weapons. It asserts our right to live in a world free from these weapons of mass, indiscriminate destruction.
The exhibition is the core of the campaign, but it also includes events such as conferences, flash mobs, book readings, concerts and film screenings. These events draw on the participation of members of the broader public, not only SGI members.
related article The Practice of Dignity by Mitch Bogen, Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue, USA Mitch Bogen describes the ethos and activities of the Ikeda Center and explains how the 2015 Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue offers a window into the center’s history. The exhibition was first held in 2011, in Florence, and more than 60,000 people visited it when it was shown most recently in Milan in 2013. More than 15,000 were students, who are our main target group. In addition, there have been more than 300 Senzatomica public events around Italy, involving over 150,000 people.
As the original exhibition is quite extensive, in 2013 we created a smaller version comprised of 15 easily assembled panels that can be quickly and conveniently set up. This has enabled us to host the exhibition in smaller, more varied venues such as schools and museums and even sports clubs. In this way, we have been able to reach a broader audience, and it is our hope to generate a wave of public opinion that will lead to the creation and adoption of a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
Being involved in Senzatomica activities has helped me become more aware of my own negative tendencies, such as being overly proud or self-centered, which cause me to suffer. In this way, I feel that I am carrying out my own process of “internal disarmament”—a struggle against the negativity within my own life.
Courtesy January 2014 issue of the SGI Quarterly.
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by Dennis Lee, director of Program and Community Relations, SSA