The Oleander UK Educators Program was a week long program designed to transmit Hiroshima’s “culture of peace” to educators in the United Kingdom. The Program included five educators from throughout the United Kingdom and was implemented from June 23rd to 29th, 2019 in Hiroshima, Konu and Onomichi Japan. This program was jointly implemented by UME, Peace Culture Village in Konu, Japan and Hope in the Heart, CIC based in Plymouth, UK.
The UK Educators program was divided between “city” and “country” components that highlighted the many ways Hiroshima peace culture is expressed. The “city” component of the Program included an intensive academic study, as well as visits to sites of conscience that illustrate the culture of peace that emerged in Hiroshima after the 1945 atomic bombing. The “country” program explored how Hiroshima’s peace culture is expressed in areas like Konu (population 2,500) and Onomichi, rural areas of Hiroshima Prefecture. During this segment of the program, participants experienced peace culture as expressed in citizens’ relationships with their natural environment, work, and spirituality.
The Oleander UK Educators Program was a multinational joint effort led by the United States based UME and supported by the Hiroshima based Peace Culture Village and the UK based Hope in the Heart CIC.
Oleander UK Educators Program Highlights
Participants arrive at Hiroshima International Airport and stay at the World Friendship Center
Hibakusha testimony by Horie Soh
Guided Tour of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Peace Park by Michiko Yamane of World Friendship Center
Tour of Hibaku Jomoku trees with Green Legacy Hiroshima (GLH) tour of Hiroshima Castle
The GLH Initiative is a global volunteer campaign, aiming to disseminate the universal message of trees that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Created in 2011 by two friends, Nassrine Azimi and Tomoko Watanabe, GLH shares worldwide the double message of caution and hope that the unique survivor trees of Hiroshima (and ultimately Nagasaki) represent, recalling on the one hand the dangers of arms of mass destruction and nuclear weapons in particular, and on the other hand the sacred character of mankind and the resilience of nature. Currently seeds and saplings from the A-bombed trees are growing in more than 30 countries – in a sustained, long-term (1000-year) campaign, joining other efforts for a nuclear-free and more ecological planet.
Lunch with Hibakusha @ Hachidorisha Social Book Café
Hachidori (Hummingbird) Book Café connects people, society and Hiroshima to the world. The café acts as a community center that regularly gathers guests to discuss various social issues, philosophical topics, and peace. Hachidori Book café provides regular opportunities for visitors to sit down and chat with A-bomb survivors in on the 6th, 16th & 26th of every month.
Arrive at Peace Culture Village
Peace Culture Village is a nonprofit and experiential peace training camp located in the mountains of Hiroshima prefecture. On campus, we cultivate peace and nonviolence through sustainable living and farming. Out in the world, we make Hiroshima’s peace culture accessible through camps and tours that strengthen peace in ourselves and our community while contributing to universal health and wellbeing.
Tour of Joge
During the Edo era, Joge was an area directly under control of the shogunate. In the middle of a silver trade route, it was known as the Wall Street of Japan due to its multitude of banks. Famous for its white “sea-cucumber” plaster walls and traditional storefronts, it is a gem far off the beaten track. Here, we will learn about how locals are striving to preserve their community and culture by focusing on inbound tourism.
Tour of Yamaoka Sake Brewery
The Yamaoka’s have been in the sake making business for generations. They own a small, renowned sake brewery using Konu’s fresh mountain water and rice they grow themselves. Some years they keep ducks that they employ to weed their rice paddies.
Onigiri dinner with Konu locals
Mr. Ogawa is a local entrepreneur who runs a rice-crop sharing program and has plans to create a blueberry farm to attract tourists to the area. He is a key player in Konu working to preserve the town’s culture and community. He is throwing us a rice-ball making party with rice that his organization grows.
The Yamasaki’s have been making lanterns in Onomichi for generations (over 100 years)! Mr. Yamasaki, his son, and his grandson will aid us in making our own lanterns with messages for peace.
Onomichi Seven Temple Path
Onomichi is known for its 25 breathtaking temples in between the mountains and the sea. We will visit seven of them, each known for answering specific sorts of prayers (prayers for longevity, for safe travels, etc.). This will be a heavy walking day, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. On our journey, we will also take the ropeway up to the Onomichi observatory to see the view of the Seto Inland Sea from the top. A Saikoku-ji Temple, we will meet head priest Aso-san, who will lead us in a sutra writing meditation and discuss with us about religion, spirituality, and peace.