Remarks by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan
to the United Nations
at the Award Ceremony for the
“United Nations Art for Peace” Contest
23 October 2012
It is my pleasure to speak at the awards ceremony for the first United Nations Art for Peace contest. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Secretary-General and the United Nations Secretariat for their admirable initiative and hard work in organizing the event. The art before you demonstrates how we can use creativity and imagination of our youth to educate the next generation as well as this generation on the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation. The winning piece by Ms. Haruka Shoji, a Japanese student living in New Jersey, captures the promise of a bright future if we can achieve peace. On behalf of the Japanese Mission to the UN, we gratefully accept Ms. Shoji’s beautiful work. Ms. Ai Yamanaka of Hiroshima, Japan, who took second-prize, shows our future in a different light, where bombs and weapons are no longer used, and have become part of nature, the title of her piece. As a fellow Japanese citizen, I am honored to see such creative art celebrated today at the United Nations where we work to achieve world peace.
These moving compositions reinforce our conviction about the importance of education in disarmament and the power of youth and the crucial role they play in spreading the message of peace. In this vein, Japan, together with United Nations University, held a Global Forum in August on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education in Nagasaki. Ms. Angela Kane, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, who is with us today, attended the conference and inspired not only Japanese but international participants who devote themselves to promoting peace through education. This event attests to Japan’s unceasing commitment and active role in disarmament education.
When raising global awareness on disarmament and non-proliferation issues, we should not underestimate the power of technology, especially that of social media. Last year Japan and the UN Office of Disarmament held a similar contest to the Art for Peace contest, titled Poetry for Peace. Our mission and the UN Secretariat were surprised at the prodigious number of responses to advertisements posted to Facebook and Twitter announcing the contest. All the entries were based on the impression they had after listening to the testimonies from atomic bomb survivors, and they all eloquently expressed the inner voices of writers. I am gratified to hear that the success of the Poetry for Peace contest gave our UN colleagues confidence in creating another forum to further invite young creativity through the Art for Peace contest. Through social media, we see how people around the world, especially youths, can share their thoughts, express their views, and inspire each other with art. Through social media, the world today is witnessing a global campaign for peace.
Finally, let me congratulate all of the winners of the United Nations Art for Peace contest and extend my deepest appreciation to all the artists for their submissions. I hope the spirit and innovation shown in your artwork will continue to contribute to our common goals of non-proliferation and disarmament.