Three Hiroshima organizations are honored for contributions to peace

March 10, 2014

by Rie Nii, Staff Writer

On March 3, the Hiroshima Peace Creation Fund, a public interest incorporated foundation, held a ceremony at the Chugoku Shimbun Building, located in Naka Ward, Hiroshima, to honor the recipients of the International Exchange Encouragement Prize. Yoshinori Okatani, president of the Chugoku Shimbun, serves as chair of the Hiroshima Peace Creation Fund. Three organizations in Hiroshima, which are engaged in peace activities with global reach, were honored with certificates of merit and prize money of 100,000 yen.

Nassrine Azimi, 54, co-founder of the Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative, an effort based in Naka Ward that dispatches seeds and saplings of A-bombed trees to places in and out of Japan, said in Japanese that she hopes to build a more peaceful world by joining hands with others internationally. Tomoko Watanabe, 60, the other co-founder, mentioned the group’s collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and expressed delight that the U.N. organization and citizens are working together in this effort.

Salaam, an organization based in Nishi Ward which provides support to Palestinian women, is engaged in selling embroidered handicrafts made by Palestinian women through fair trade channels, conveying conditions in Palestine via a blog and newsletters, and other activities. Shiori Kamigaki, 55, leader of the group, commented, “Even today Palestine is a place where the people are unable to move about freely. We would like to devote the prize money to supporting the independence of the women there.”

Keiko Ogura, 76, head of the Hiroshima Interpreters for Peace (HIP) and a resident of Naka Ward, said that she would like to use the prize money for a project to commemorate the group’s 30th anniversary. HIP was founded in 1984 and continues to provide volunteer guides, in English, for visitors to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The group plans to publish a book sometime this summer.

The International Exchange Encouragement Prize was launched in 1998 by the Hiroshima International Cultural Foundation. Last year, administration of the prize was assumed by the Hiroshima Peace Creation Fund. The three organizations were chosen by a selection committee of five members, composed of directors and experts, from among the seven organizations and three individuals that had applied for the prize.

(Originally published on March 4, 2014)