Workshop and Symposia

SGINZ Confers Peace Award on Peace Activist Alyn Ware

Jimi Wallace awards Mr. Ware (right)
Jimi Wallace awards Mr. Ware (right)

On June 30, Soka Gakkai International New Zealand (SGINZ) conferred the Aotearoa Peace is Precious Award on the internationally recognized anti-nuclear weapons activist Alyn Ware. At the conferral ceremony in Wellington, SGINZ General Director Jimi Wallace stated that the award was an acknowledgement of Mr. Ware's "tremendous efforts to create a more peaceful world."

Born in New Zealand, Mr. Ware has been leading initiatives for peace education and the abolition of nuclear weapons both internationally and in New Zealand for over 25 years. He is the global coordinator of the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and served as the UN coordinator for the World Court Project which spearheaded the movement toward the International Court of Justice's 1996 advisory opinion on the "Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons." For several years, he has been working with a group of experts to promote a Nuclear Weapons Convention, an idea now receiving support from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Ware, who was the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award in 2009, described nuclear weapons as the ultimate destroyer. He stated that the very existence of nuclear weapons had, in New Zealand, altered the understanding of what it means to be secure, since they posed an imminent threat to humanity and "changed our relationship with the world." Citing SGI President Ikeda's statement that peace is not just the absence of war but lives and breathes in our actions, Mr. Ware said that we need to elevate and make visible the stories of peacemakers, look at alternative ways to resolve conflict and have the courage to follow the path of nonviolence.

Mr. Ware commended SGI's efforts to build a global framework for peace and nuclear abolition through its educational exhibitions such as "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" and the People's Decade for Nuclear Abolition campaign. He said, "We can all take some kind of action. It's important to ask 'What can I do?'"

[Adapted from a July 6, 2012, article on the Soka Gakkai New Zealand (SGINZ) website and a July 5, 2012, press release from SGINZ; photo courtesy of SGINZ]

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