Please enable JavaScript in your browser to view this site in optimal condition.
When displaying with JavaScript disabled, some functions may not be available or correct information may not be obtained.

Hiroshima for Global Peace

Peace & XX’ Ideation — Nuclear Disarmament and Sustainable Futures
Participant Interviews

On August 6th, 2023, which marks the 78th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima, a public youth pitch event “‘Peace & XX’ Ideation – Nuclear Disarmament and Sustainable Futures” was held at Eikei University of Hiroshima. This event was hosted by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Hiroshima Prefecture and the Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace (HOPe), and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA).

The event was attended by 39 high school and university students, who mostly came from Hiroshima but also from Nagasaki and Tokyo.

They spiritedly exchanged ideas about what they could do to realize a sustainable future without nuclear arms.

The event was divided into two parts.

In the first part, participants were separated into groups of three to four and gathered their thoughts as a team.

Each team was assigned a theme that was taken from the Sustainable Development Goals: good health and well-being (SDG 3), gender equality (SDG 5), industry, innovation, and infrastructure (SDG 9), and climate action (SDG 13).

The proposed solution would then be expressed in the format “Peace & XX.”

After each team delivered their presentation, one representative team was chosen for each theme.

Despite the fact that the participants had not met each other before, they candidly shared their opinions within their groups, and it was a memorable sight to see them cooperate as they filled out their presentation boards using colored markers and tablets.

In the second part, the representative teams gave their presentations in front of panelists Yuzaki Hidehiko (Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture and President of HOPe), Nakamitsu Izumi (United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs), and Kumamoto Mihoko (UNITAR Director of Division for Prosperity and Hiroshima Office).

The panelists voiced their support and gave advice to the presenters.

Ms. Nakamitsu commented, “This method of ‘strategic foresight,’ in which ideas are formed by thinking backward from the ideal future that you envision, is extremely effective.”

Mr. Yuzaki stated, “I would like you to do a deep dive on these topics to grasp the underlying cause of these issues.”

Ms. Kumamoto advised, “Find more companions and polish your presentation skills!”

The panelists offered their advice to the presenters.

*From left, Yuzaki Hidehiko (Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture), Nakamitsu Izumi (UN Under-Secretary-General), and Kumamoto Mihoko (UNITAR Director of Division for Prosperity and Hiroshima Office)

Despite the long duration of the event, which lasted six hours in total, the students who participated appear to have been very inspired by meeting new companions and giving presentations in front of others.

We asked participants Nojiri Nozomi and Kawamoto Yoshiki for their thoughts on the event once it concluded.

(Nojiri Nozomi)

What inspired you to participate in this event?

Nojiri: I am from Miyazaki, but I learned about the awfulness of atomic bombs and the horrors of war while watching manga series such as Barefoot Gen, Grave of the Fireflies, and In This Corner of the World as a child.

My interest was heightened further when I enrolled in a university in Nagasaki, and I decided to apply to participate in this event as soon as I heard about it so that I could take advantage of this rare opportunity to go to Hiroshima on August 6th.

Kawamoto: My great-grandfather passed away as a result of the atomic bombing, and my grandmother would frequently tell me about how things were at the time.

Then, as a high school student, I volunteered as a guide to show visitors from overseas the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Atomic Bomb Dome.

I applied to participate in this event so that I could further my understanding of peace.

(Kawamoto Yoshiki)

Is there anything that has left an impression?

Nojiri: I used to feel insecure about the fact that I am engaging in these kinds of activities despite the fact that I am not from a place that was subject to an atomic bombing.

However, it was reassuring to have a student from Okayama in my group.

This helped me see things in a more positive light, as my upbringing in a place that was not subject to an atomic bombing would actually allow me to share the horrors of atomic bombs in this region that was not subject to an atomic bombing.

Kawamoto: During this event, I was able to enjoy the process of coming up with ideas together with two female students who I had not met before.

Although we each had different opinions, interests, and concerns, we were able to find commonality where two seemingly separate fields intersect.

The presentations by the other teams all seemed convincing also, and I felt very inspired.

What would you like to do moving forward?

Nojiri: I am currently attending visiting lectures as part of the Peace Caravan Corps at my university.

Given the importance of sharing the experiences of atomic bomb survivors as they grow older, I hope to engage in such activities as part of the younger generation.

Also, I would like to expand my network through similar events, since I do not have many opportunities to interact with people outside of Nagasaki through my activities in Nagasaki.

Kawamoto: Although I am unsure whether or not I will be able to continue to engage in activities related to peace once I start my university studies, I would like to help contribute to the end goal of making the world a more peaceful place by researching a field that I am interested in, as I place this field in the X part of this event’s theme of “Peace & XX.”

Nojiri Nozomi.

Third year student in the School of Global Humanities and Social Sciences at Nagasaki University.

Member of the 10th Nagasaki Youth Delegation.

Part of the Peace Caravan Corps.

Kawamoto Yoshiki.

Third year student at Hiroshima Nagisa High School.

Engaging in activities as a member of the sixth class of the Future Leaders’ Program for Global Peace.

*In the images, the two students are holding up the presentation boards that they created as part of their group activities.

Tags associated with this article