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SGI Canada Supports Youth for Disarmament Day

By Glenn Turner, Ottawa

 Left: Mayor Jim Watson presents students with declaration decree (photographed by Michael Sunderland).
Right: Students participate in Model UN (photographed by Koozma J. Tarasoff)

As part of the 11th Ottawa Peace Festival, SGI Canada in partnership with Ottawa City Councillor Catherine McKenney co-sponsored "Youth for Nuclear Disarmament Day" on September 29. Planned with high school student organizers, the day featured a multi-school Model UN club debate on the recent Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, followed by small group discussions between students and disarmament experts. Panels from the SGI exhibition “Everything You Treasure—For a World Free from Nuclear Weapons” formed a backdrop for the event which was held in the Champlain room of Ottawa City Hall. 

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson opened the event at City Hall by proclaiming the day to be "Youth for Nuclear Disarmament Day" and noting that it marked an important step in the efforts by the youth of Ottawa to abolish nuclear weapons. 

SGI Canada General Director Tony Meers sent a message of congratulations to the event that explained the ongoing support by SGI for a world without nuclear weapons as initiated by second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda in 1957. 

Disarmament experts and former Canadian and United Nations diplomat Earl Turcotte, Rideau Institute President Peggy Mason and Program Coordinator for Mines Action Canada Erin Hunt encouraged the students to believe in the power and value of their contributions to global issues like nuclear disarmament. The participants left with a strong sense of responsibility in their potential to create positive change in the world.

"Youth for Nuclear Disarmament Day" has become a September tradition for Ottawa schools, and organizers are already looking ahead to a bigger event in a bigger venue next year.

The “Everything You Treasure—For a World Free from Nuclear Weapons” exhibition was created by SGI in collaboration with ICAN (the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), the recent recipient of the Nobel Peace prize. The exhibition has been shown in 79 cities in 19 countries around the world. In September this year, SGI worked with ICAN in the production of a short anime film highlighting the importance of the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons (see https://goo.gl/ouqidR).

To read more about the exhibition click here: http://www.sgi.org/resources/ngo-resources/peace-disarmament/