Students Reconvene In Pursuit of Nuclear Disarmament    


What are the main obstacles to nuclear weapons abolition? What are the action steps we can take that ultimately will result in the entering into force of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons? These were a couple of the questions taken up during our February 10 student seminar, the second of two devoted to nuclear disarmament. The session was carefully designed by peace education pioneer Betty Reardon (left) and Professor Zeena Zakharia (right) of UMass Boston to elicit students' best thinking on these difficult questions. As the day wound down, two major priorities emerged: first, to raise awareness about the current state of nuclear weapons globally, and second, to challenge the defeatist mindset that says nothing can be done about the nuclear weapons status quo. On April 21, the Center will host a public event during which students will share key findings from the seminar series.
Ikeda Center Joins "Know Nukes" Panel in Cambridge

On March 10, the Center's Lillian I participated in a panel discussion sponsored by Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA) Next Gen called  "Know Nukes." Lillian (left) was joined on the panel by MAPA's Michelle Cunha and Max Tegmark from M.I.T. and the Future of Life Institute for a discussion on the current state of nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament. While Cunha and Tegmark highlighted some of the political and scientific dimensions of the issue, Lillian offered a Buddhist perspective, emphasizing that each person's life is "infinitely precious and respect worthy." Given this, said Lillian, the widespread "pragmatic" notion that nuclear weapons are necessary for a nation's security is far too cavalier in accepting the massive loss of life that would occur in a nuclear exchange.
 
2018 Peace Proposal

Daisaku Ikeda's 2018 Peace Proposal emphasizes that a "human rights" focus provides the "key to resolving global issues and abolishing nuclear weapons," not least because it can help "overcome social divides." Celebrating last year's adoption in the UN of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was followed by the awarding of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Mr. Ikeda urges us to be optimistic about advancing the cause of global peace in the year to come. "The challenge of creating the new reality of a global society," he writes, "where all may live in peace and dignity is not beyond our reach. And it is my firm belief that the solidarity of ordinary people will be the driving force for its realization."

 
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Dialogue Nights Continue in 2018


We hosted our first Dialogue Nights event of 2018 on January 19, when more than forty Boston-area students and young professionals gathered at the Ikeda Center to discuss "The Invisible Arrow of Prejudice, War, and Conflict." The guiding idea for the event was Daisaku Ikeda's insight that all of us have an "invisible arrow" of prejudice and attachment to difference embedded in our hearts. Breaking into small groups, participants were asked to consider a two-part question centering first on whether they could perceive an "invisible arrow" in their own lives, and if so how it got there; and second, on how attachments to differences can be overcome and the shared humanity of all people, even those with divergent beliefs and values, can be acknowledged and honored.
   

Our second Dialogue Night of 2018, held on March 23, was called "Learning to Live Together: Rediscovering Our Fundamental Correctness." Another great mix of Boston-area young people were in attendance, this time celebrating ways we create meaning by finding joy in the dignity and wellbeing of others. Attendees were inspired by thoughts from Daisaku Ikeda's 2018 peace proposal, as well as by their viewing of the documentary The Island of All Together, which movingly depicts structured conversations between refugees and tourists conducted on the Greek island of Lesbos in 2015.