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Hiroshima, Aug 31, 2015: From August 28 to 30, 2015, an International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition was held in Hiroshima, bringing together 30 key youth activists on nuclear disarmament from more than 20 countries, from Tunisia to Kazakhstan, India and the USA.
Participants met with survivors of the atomic bombing, discussed future strategies aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons and created a “Youth Pledge” in which they call nuclear weapons a symbol of a bygone age.
The pledge concludes: “We, the Generation of Change, invite you to join us as we raise our collective voice to call for action; we refuse to stand by while nuclear weapons continue to threaten our lives and future generations. Join us, take action and create change!”
On August 30, a total of 250 participants joined a wider public forum at which summit cochairs Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and Anna Ikeda of Soka Gakkai International (SGI) presented the Youth Pledge to Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.
Alhendawi urged, “Let’s be the generation that makes peace possible. This youth summit is sending a strong message to the world, that the youth are for peace and for a nuclear-free-world, and the world must listen.”
The public forum also featured a film made by atomic bomb survivor Masaaki Tanabe, whose childhood home stood right next to the Atomic Bomb Dome. He stated, “Seeing my film, I hope that you really understood that these were real lives, people, genuine human beings. I want the world’s leaders to know this truth.”
Youth participants said the summit had deepened their sense of urgency. Erin Hunt of Mines Action Canada (MAC) commented, “This network of young people who now have this shared experience of knowing what these weapons can do—I think is very, very important.”
Messages of support were received from peace activists including NAPF President David Krieger, International Institute on Peace Education Founder Betty Reardon, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) Executive Director Michael Christ.
The event was coordinated by representatives of ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), MAC, NAPF, PAX, SGI and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
Cosponsors were the City of Hiroshima, the City of Nagasaki, Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, PCU Nagasaki Council, Nagasaki Global Citizens’ Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, Mayors for Peace, ICAN, IPPNW, the Basel Peace Office, Global Zero and Ban All Nukes generation (BANg).
Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is a socially-engaged Buddhist network with 12 million members around the world that promotes peace, culture and education. It has been campaigning for the abolition of nuclear weapons for over 50 years.
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