High School Student Peace Ambassadors are recommended for 2018 Nobel Peace Prize

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

The High School Student Peace Ambassadors, who have been calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons and are making efforts for this cause, have been recommended to the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee as a candidate for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. The reason for this recommendation is the extensive work they have done over the past 20 years, which is considered to be playing an important role in helping to build a more peaceful world. The High School Peace Ambassador Dispatch Committee, composed of citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, made an announcement about this recommendation on February 7.

According to the Dispatch Committee, Nobuto Hirano, 71, the committee’s cofounder and a resident of Nagasaki, established an executive committee charged with the responsibility of making recommendations for candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. The executive committee approached a member of the Diet who is qualified to make a recommendation, and submitted an application to the Nobel Prize Committee last month with 24 Diet members from the ruling and opposition parties as nominators. Tetsuo Saito, acting secretary-general of the Komeito Party, is one of the nominators. The committee received an email to inform them of the acceptance of the application on January 22, and official candidates are usually selected around June.

The High School Student Peace Ambassadors program was established in 1988 in response to nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan. To date, a total of more than 180 students have been dispatched to various conferences including the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. At these gatherings, they have delivered speeches conveying the catastrophic damage wrought by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs and stated their wishes for the abolition of nuclear weapons. They have also submitted signatures they collected in support of nuclear abolition. A person with ties to the United Nations suggested that the dispatch committee make an application for the Nobel Peace Prize nomination. In an interview with the press, held at Hiroshima City Hall on February 7, Mr. Hirano emphasized the significance of the peace ambassadors being selected as a candidate by saying that the selection would boost momentum for their efforts to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The dispatch committee will send two peace ambassadors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the Nobel Prize Committee Secretariat in March to provide a detailed explanation of the ambassadors’ activities. One of these ambassadors is Konami Funai, 17, a second-year student at Eisugakkan Senior High School in Fukuyama City who took part in the press interview. She told reporters that she would like to convey the devastating consequences of the atomic bombings and the activities pursued by the peace ambassadors over the past 20 years.

(Originally published on February 8, 2018)