Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Mr. Koro Bessho Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations at the Fourth Event of “Peace is…”

Ladies and gentlemen,    

         I would like to thank you all for joining us today. I would also like to thank Mr. Ramu Damodaran, Acting Director for Outreach Division of the Department of Public Information, for acting as our master of ceremonies.  

         It gives me great honor to co-host the fourth event of “Peace is…” together with ASEAN colleagues on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its foundation.  

         In the commemorative resolution of the General Assembly adopted last month, ASEAN was recognized as a regional organization that promotes multilateralism and regional peace, and Japan is always happy to work in collaboration with ASEAN. Today’s Peace is… event is another memorable moment to share together.  

         Some of you may recall last December’s Plaster Wall Event, commemorating Japan’s 60th anniversary in the UN.  UN officials, diplomats, and New York based supporters for the UN carved on the wall their messages of peace in their mother languages. The memories and prayers for peace on the wall left a lasting impression. From this collective experience, our initiative, “Peace is…” was born.  

         The “Peace is…” initiative focuses on art and culture as a medium through which everyone can better connect with the UN and its objectives. The Permanent Mission of Japan has collaborated with Japanese artists residing in New York, who believe in the power of art to bridge divisions and bring people together.  

         Today, I am delighted to present Professor Noritaka Noda, who will introduce us to the IKEBANA of Ikenobo School. At the Plaster Wall event commemorating Japan’s 60th anniversary, I stressed that “we are hopefully reminded that humans, regardless of religion, belief or ethnicity, can and must co-exist and prosper on the soils that we share.”  Today, with the kind assistance of Professor Noda and Ikenobo Society of Floral Art, I can re-phrase it saying, “We can and must co-exist and prosper with the flowers that we share.”    

         Even if you don’t know how to do IKEBANA, do not worry.  I myself will try it first with my ASEAN friends, and I know Professor Noda and the Ikenobo instructors will kindly assist and guide us. Later, you can try your own floral art while enjoying musical performances from ASEAN member states.   

Thank you again for your time, and please enjoy the program.