Teachers from Middle East and North Africa undergo training in Hiroshima

by Shinji Morito, Staff Writer

Twelve people in teaching positions and other roles in education from nine countries and regions of the Middle East and North Africa, including Tunisia and Palestine, are visiting Hiroshima to learn about the reality of the atomic bombing and the reconstruction efforts of the city. The program was organized by Ray Matsumiya, 42, a Japanese-American whose grandfather was exposed to the atomic bombing, to provide training in education that can support the participants in their efforts to promote conflict resolution and other objectives in their countries.

The 12 participants are junior high school teachers and officials serving at the education ministry of their nations. Since their arrival in Japan on August 2, they have listened to lectures on the atomic bombing and attended the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6.

On August 8 at the International Conference Center Hiroshima, located in Naka Ward, they presented their future plans for peace education. Based on such experiences as listening to the “Commitment to Peace” presented by two children’s representatives at the Peace Memorial Ceremony, Leila Ben Said, 43, who teaches English at a junior high school in Tunisia, commented, “It’s important that we keep telling this story to pass on the memory of the atomic bombing. I will invite surviving family members to our school to tell their own stories to show the importance of peace.”

Mr. Matsumiya is the director general of an NPO that promotes conflict resolution. Since 1998, he has been holding training programs by inviting around 30 teachers from the Middle East and North Africa to the United States each year. Last year, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing, he conceived the training program now taking place in Hiroshima.

The participants will return to their nations on August 9.

(Originally published on August 9, 2016)