Rotary Global Peace Forum opens in Hiroshima, seeks to promote peace

by Daisuke Yamamoto, Staff Writer

The Rotary Global Peace Forum, a gathering of members from Rotary Clubs inside and outside Japan, opened at the International Conference Center Hiroshima on May 17. Some 2,500 people from 50 nations are taking part. The participants will discuss peace building activities in daily life and in local communities, and issue the Hiroshima Declaration of Peace on May 18, the final day of the forum.

At the opening session, Sakuji Tanaka, the president of Rotary International, said in his address, “We should think about what we can do for humanity, and seek, little by little, to make the world a more peaceful place.” Alexander Mejia, formerly the executive director of the Hiroshima Office of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), stated in his keynote speech that Rotary Club members were involved in establishing the Charter of the United Nations and he would like the membership to join hands to help build peace in the world.

The forum also included a panel discussion on Hiroshima’s role in pursuing peace, featuring Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, and Chugoku Shimbun President Yoshinori Okatani.

At the forum venue, Rotary Clubs and peace organizations from various parts of the world are reporting on their activities through poster presentations. At workshops which took place before the opening session, the participants were divided into five groups to discuss such themes as religion, nations, and information technology. They shared their thoughts on factors which hamper the building of peace and youth activities that could lead to a peaceful future.

(Originally published on May 18, 2013)