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Hiroshima for Global Peace

Spreading our culture of peaceful activism to the world

Established in 2017, Peace Culture Village is a nonprofit organization that supports the creation of spaces and opportunities for people to find their own role and vision for peace. We spoke to Mary Popeo, who moved from the United States to Hiroshima to help establish Peace Culture Village, and remains active in the organization.

 Talking about war and peace can bring negative feelings to mind — darkness, fear, not wanting to get involved and so on. But Peace Culture Village (PCV) offers something different. Our peace education programs are aimed at promoting and inheriting peace activities as a culture. “Peace culture” is a way of living in peace. We hope to create a peace culture together with the younger generation.

 With organizations that are made up of aging victims of the atomic bombs finding it difficult to continue their activities, PCV has two important tasks. First, we need to nurture the next generation of peace activists. Second, we need to create jobs that are based on promoting peace.

 It’s very unfortunate when people who worked for peace as students are forced to stop after finding a job. Even if they wanted to make a career out of peace work, there was no system in place for that until now. At PCV, we want to make working for peace a viable career. For example, we provide paid guides for the Peace Memorial Park, and we are also designing a total program for year-round peace studies at schools.

 Students do not take a passive role in our peace studies program. Instead, they take action and learn on their own initiative through a variety of workshops and other activities. It’s delightful to see a student shed tears from their sense of accomplishment after finishing the program. We aim to create activities that move people’s hearts like that. “Working for peace is cool!” That’s the most gratifying thing you can hear from a student. My life changed when I met survivors of the atomic bombs, and I really hope that, by taking part in PCV’s activities, at least one child has a life-changing encounter with peace culture.

 At PCV, my job is to handle media coverage and lectures and to create programs that connect Hiroshima and the world, among other things. Of the three employees, the other two are grandchildren of atomic bomb victims. I think it’s a miracle that I, as someone from the country that dropped the bombs, can work together with grandchildren of the victims. There’s something meaningful about that.

 Before the coronavirus pandemic, interfacing with overseas organizations was my main work. With the pandemic, the three of us concluded that online was the only way to go forward, and since 2020 I have been focusing on online activities.

 We’re making a variety of efforts to enhance our online content. With AR technology, we are conducting online tours of the Peace Memorial Park and creating an online peace school called Peace Culture Academy.

 There are no visits from overseas right now, so it’s a bit lonely, but hopefully people will be able to meet in person again someday. Until then, I will continue cherishing the opportunity to connect young people in Hiroshima and young people overseas through the internet.

 Using technologies like AR and VR, we can create peace activities that are inviting and easy to participate in. I will continue thinking about how to do that so that we can bring lots of people together in a peace culture.

Mary Popeo

Born in 1992, she is from Boston, USA. While studying nuclear weapons and nuclear energy as a student, she visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where she listened to stories of the atomic bomb and its victims. This was a life-changing experience, and she decided to dedicate herself to working for peace.

She moved to Hiroshima in 2016 and in 2017 she became a founding member of the nonprofit organization PCV.

Peace Culture Village (PCV)

We offer a variety of programs that create opportunities and spaces for people to find their role and vision in building a peaceful world. Our programs emphasize open exploration, personal discovery and the “peace culture” that emerges from each one of us.


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