Setsuko Thurlow sends speech to National Model United Nations Conference five years after ICAN receives Nobel Peace Prize, appealing to youth

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

Setsuko Thurlow, 90, an atomic-bomb survivor living in Canada, sent a congratulatory speech to the opening ceremony of the National Model United Nations Conference, which was held in Kobe. It was read on her behalf. She emphasized her unchanging desire for the abolition of nuclear weapons before December 10, five years since she delivered an acceptance speech on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) at the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony. She called on young people to “pick up that torch” of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Ms. Thurlow shared her experience of being exposed to the A-bombing in Hiroshima and also denounced “deterrence” as “the dangerous, illogical delusion that only nuclear weapons can prevent nuclear war.” She stated that only the TPNW was an educated choice for the world.

Considering the fact that a decision was taken to establish an International Trust Fund to support victims of the nuclear testing when the meeting of States Parties to the TPNW was held in June, she appealed for involvement, saying, “Japan and Canada contribute to this fund and this process, even before they make the educated choice to sign and ratify the treaty.”

Hosted by Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, the National Model United Nations Conference was held from November 20 to November 26, and about 300 people including university students from around the world participated in discussions in English as diplomats. Hiroshima city hall employees also visited.

With Ms. Thurlow’s permission, the original speech (in English) and a Japanese translation of her speech at the National Model United Nations Conference are posted on the website of the Hiroshima Peace Media Center.

(Originally published on December 5, 2022)