Hiroshima Peace Creation Fund honors three organizations engaged in efforts beyond national borders

by Sakiko Masuda, Staff Writer

On February 13, the Hiroshima Peace Creation Fund, a public interest incorporated foundation, for which Kazuyuki Kawamoto, vice chair of the Chugoku Shimbun, serves as chair, awarded International Exchange Encouragement Prizes to three organizations located in Hiroshima Prefecture. The prize is awarded to organizations and individuals who engage in ongoing peace efforts beyond national borders.

The prize recipients are the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chugoku International Center, located in the city of Higashihiroshima; CANVaS, an international exchange group, located in Minami Ward, Hiroshima; and the World Friendship Center (WFC), an NPO located in Nishi Ward, Hiroshima.

Volunteer members of the JICA Chugoku International Center have been organizing A-bomb exhibitions in various parts of the world since 2004 to convey the horror of the atomic bombing and today’s reconstructed city to the international community. To date, they have held over 100 A-bomb exhibitions in 55 nations in Asia, Central America, South America, and other regions.

Since the founding of CANVaS, in 2003, its members have been engaged in exchange activities with young people in Kazakhstan, whose citizens have suffered from the ill effects of repeated nuclear testing during the era of the former Soviet Union. Some members of CANVaS visited Kazakhstan last year, too, to stage a joint forum, interview nuclear test sufferers, and pursue other efforts.

The World Friendship Center was established in 1965 by Barbara Reynolds, an American pacifist and an honorary citizen of Hiroshima. Carrying on her passion for peace for nearly half a century, the organization is involved in such grassroots activities as exchanging peace envoys between Japan and the United States, as well as other nations, and arranging opportunities to hear the accounts of A-bomb survivors.

The International Exchange Encouragement Prize was launched by the Hiroshima International Cultural Foundation, chaired by Nobuko Yamamoto, in 1998. The Hiroshima Peace Creation Fund took over the task of awarding the prize when the foundation was certified as a public interest incorporated foundation on August 6, 2012. To select the prize recipients, the foundation had invited public participation. The awards ceremony will be held on March 5 at the Chugoku Shimbun Building in downtown Hiroshima. The foundation will present the recipients with certificates of merit and prize money of 100,000 yen per organization.

(Originally published on February 14, 2013)