Workshop and Symposia

Hiroshima Peace Day in the United Kingdom

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

As SGI-UK National Women's Division leader, Suzanne Pritchard said, "The fact that you are all here means that you want to see a change in the world and that you also want to be an impetus for that change."

Alex Giles, a member from South London, who, along with Ali Bailey started the day five years ago in their local area, quoting President Ikeda said, "Remembering requires courage to take action and engage in dialogue, because dialogue moves people on the deepest level of life."

Dr. Jason Hart, Lecturer in International Development at the University of Bath gave a lecture entitled, "The Challenge of Trust" which outlined the context for President Ikeda's 2009 Proposal, "Building Global Solidarity Toward Nuclear Abolition" and the final point in his five-point plan: "The world's people to clearly manifest their will for the outlawing of nuclear weapons and to establish, by the year 2015, the international norm that will serve as the foundation for a Nuclear Weapons Convention." He said some of the key challenges for the next five years were: "How can we build solid relationships of trust across national borders so as to create a functioning human family? How can we establish a common vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world?" and "How can we ensure that this vision prevails over narrow national self-interest which is fuelled by mistrust?"

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

During the break, members viewed the exhibition, "Transforming the Human Spirit" which was displayed in the foyer of Taplow Court. Dr. Wei-Chong Choo, a research fellow at the University of Putra in Malaysia said, "I consider myself a world citizen, which is the informal education passed on to me through SGI. This is not normal in most countries. This exhibition has inspired me as a lecturer and educator, to think, how I am going to create awareness among my students?"

"What really me struck were the statistics about global military costs, and the issue of which is safer, the heavily armed world in which we live now or one in which people's basic needs are met," said Richard Hawting, 25 from Tottenham, London. "Reading Toda's declaration (for nuclear abolition) shows me that peace actually depends on me taking action in society," said Kaori Lallaway from Islington, London.

Edilaine Di Muro, SGI-UK National Student Division leader reported on the Student and Youth Division's survey on awareness of nuclear abolition, which formed part of the worldwide SGI survey. 70 percent of those surveyed in the UK said they did not accept the use of nuclear weapons in any circumstances and 67 percent said they did not feel the existence of nuclear weapons contributed to the peace and stability of the international community.

Manuel Fernandez, Youth Division Leader for SGI-UK, announced the establishment of the SGI-UK Youth Peace Committee with representatives from the Student Division and Youth Division to meet regularly to discuss practical and creative responses to President Ikeda's 2009 Proposal and any subsequent proposals towards nuclear abolition.

There were several performances during the day: Steph Morris read SGI President Ikeda's poem, "The Singing Voice of Victory over the Dome of Peace," Rachel Cardy sang her song "Never Again." Roslyn Cook, who also took part in the NPT Conference in New York gave her personal experience of taking action for nuclear abolition; meanwhile Bill Drake performed the "Kissing Song." SGI-UK General Director Robert Samuels, closing the day, said it marked a turning point for SGI-UK and that, up until 2014, Hiroshima Peace Day would be an annual event at Taplow Court.

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

Prior to this event, on August 8, SGI-UK members in South London area met to commemorate the 65th anniversaries.

Following an extract from the SGI DVD "Testimonies from Hiroshima and Nagasaki – Women Speak Out for Peace," Alex Giles delivered a speech stating that we can definitely create momentum toward the goal of nuclear abolition and further to a lasting peace through taking action by spreading awareness and inspiration to others.

Rachel Cardy, accompanied by Ed Walton on the violin, sang her own composition "Never Again," which reached deep into the audience's hearts and consolidated their determination to move forward.

Share |

Back to top

Terms of Use