Last August, Soka Gokkai International (SGI), a long-time campaigner for peace and against nuclear weapons, graciously convened a summit of youth activists from around the world on nuclear abolition in Hiroshima, Japan on the year of the commemoration of 70 years since the first use of the atomic bomb. One of the participants forwarded through IPPNW channels from Africa was the Vice-Chair of Association of Physicians and Medical Workers for Social Responsibility – the IPPNW affiliate in Kenya.
30 participants from more than 15 countries gathered for a grueling but extremely fulfilling and fruitful days of conversations around disarmament, gender perspectives, creating opportunities for collaboration and creating unity, expanding the movement , engaging more youth and coming up with a youth pledge for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In the days leading up to the summit, participants also got to visit the A-Bomb dome and Hiroshima memorial museum and park. They had a welcoming message from Mayor Kazumi Matsui who doubles up as chair of Mayors for Peace about the importance of keeping the movement’s spark alight and the gains in progress in number of cities joining the peace movement. They also got to hear a heart-felt testimony from Hibakusha, Miss Tetsuo Motoi who encouraged them to be bolder in spreading the message.
At the summit, all the wide-ranging issues – social, health, economic, gender – were heard and felt as various speakers took the stage and shared the experiences in campaigning for abolition of nuclear weapons. There was a performance on the Hibaku piano (a piano that survived the bombing of Hiroshima), a screening of the very emotive ‘Hiroshima Lost – A Labor if Love’ by director Masaaki Tanabe, advocacy training sessions, a showcase of various campaign projects which featured our very own K-Project for Peace as one of the selected projects to showcase and finally a presentation of the Youth Pledge to the Keynote speaker, UN Secretary General Envoy on Youth Mr. Ahmed Alhendawi. Mr Alhendawi remarked on the importance of the youth speaking out on matters that threaten the world for future generations saying, “We cannot allow anyone to gamble with out future.”
After the summit, the African representative at this summit held a closed door meeting with officials of Japan’s IPPNW (JPPNW) to discuss further collaboration. JPPNW president promised to bring up some of the proposed collaborative efforts to the next AGM of their affiliate and also at the upcoming Asia Regional Meeting in 2016.
Overall, it was a wonderful opportunity to network with like-minded peers and find ways to collaborate and unite and IPPNW Africa hopes to see many more similar forums.
Watch the showcase of some of the campaign projects around the world here or below