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Hiroshima for Global Peace

Future Leaders’ Program for Global Peace (6th cohort) Participant Presentations and Certificate of Completion Ceremony

The Future Leader’s Program for Global Peace is organized by the Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace (HOPe) with the objective of educating high school students about peace, in order to nurture human resources that are able to contribute to global peace. On Sunday, February 5th, a ceremony was held for members of the 6th cohort of the program to present their findings and receive their certificate of completion.

First, each of the 20 participants gave a 4-minute presentation in Japanese and English about their suggestions for global peace. In their own words, the participants spoke about what they learned through the program, which took place over the course of half a year and included lectures on peacebuilding and the abolition of nuclear weapons, discussions in English, and a tour of buildings in Hiroshima that withstood the nuclear bomb.

“I thought that I must improve my own abilities.” “Hiroshima is one of two places that has endured an atomic bomb. It must continue to be a symbol of peace.” “Our generation must share memories and records of the war with the next generation.” The results of this program include these messages aimed toward the future, as well as speeches delivered in fluent English.

Then, participants received their certificate of completion. Headmaster Ikeda Hideo (Professor Emeritus, Hiroshima University) gave warm words of encouragement, “I expect you to become leading figures in the world, Japan, Hiroshima, and the environment surrounding you.”

In response, Azuma Sachie (Year 3, Fukuyama Iyo High School) delivered a message on behalf of the participants. She conveyed the thoughts of all participants, “The Future Leaders’ Program for Global Peace is a wonderful place where I was able to meet the best colleagues. I hope that we can take each other by the hand and devote ourselves to becoming people that can carry the future of Japan.”

In recent years, the Future Leaders’ Program for Global Peace has been held remotely or even skipped altogether as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the first certificate of completion ceremony to be held in four years, participants took pictures with each other as if they had just graduated, demonstrating the strong friendships that they forged through this program.

We were able to talk to participants Iwamoto Atsunori (Year 1, Kindai University Hiroshima High School, Higashihiroshima) and Takahara Sarira (Year 1, Hiroshima Global Academy) about how being a part of the Future Leaders’ Program for Global Peace felt.

●What inspired you to participate?

Mr. Iwamoto: My teacher told me about the Future Leaders’ Program for Global Peace. At the time, the invasion of Ukraine was being covered on TV day after day. I decided to apply for this program, hoping that I could get some clues about what I could do about peace instead of just watching the news.

Ms. Takahara: Although I had some level of awareness about the atomic bomb before, I was shocked when I heard on the news in the summer of 2021 that part-time workers had taken on the role of keeping the oral histories of the atomic bomb alive due to a shortage of people doing so. That made me realize that my understanding of peace was lacking, and I applied for this program out of my desire to study peace.

●What has left an impression?

Mr. Iwamoto: We communicated remotely with high school students in the Philippines last month, and to them, it is only a historical fact that an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. This is despite the fact that elementary and middle school students in Hiroshima learn about the bombing every year… This gave me a strong desire to help people from around the world gain a deeper understanding of this fact so that we can change society to the point where we are able to come up with a solution for the nuclear weapon problem.

Ms. Takahara: During his lecture, Professor Seki Koki from Hiroshima University mentioned, “If you think that there is a dichotomy any time that there are differences, you are creating divisions between people.” Given also that I myself have preconceptions, I felt that having extreme thoughts hinders peacebuilding. I believe it is important to minimize these differences and find common ground.

●What would you like to do moving forward?

Mr. Iwamoto: I would like to study pharmacology. There are still numerous illnesses without a cure in Africa and Southeast Asia today. In the future, I would like to join an international company and make medicine to cure these illnesses.

Ms. Takahara: Since I am interested in media and communication, I would like to enter a profession where I am able to share memories of the war, which are fading with time, with the world through movies and advertisements. Even now, I am thinking of various efforts. I want to participate in the Junior Conference that is held at the same time as the G7 summit, I want to hold a TEDx (*1) event with staff members in their teens, and I also want to produce NFT art (*2) that connects bomb survivors with artists… I will take action where I can!

(*1) TEDx refers to communities around the world that have been approved to take action by TED (Technology Entertainment Design), which is a non-profit organization that hosts and broadcasts lectures by notable people based on the concept of Ideas Worth Spreading.

(*2) NFT (Non-Fungible Token) art refers to digital artwork that has had its uniqueness and asset value ensured using blockchain technology (characterized by difficulty in falsifying transaction records) that is also used for cryptocurrency.

Iwamoto Atsunori. Year 1 student at Kindai University Hiroshima High School, Higashihiroshima. Hobbies include visiting every museum in Japan with his father.

Takahara Sarira. Year 1 student at Hiroshima Global Academy. Interested in entertainment that delights people.

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