The Oleander Initiative is pleased to announce that it is organizing a study tour of Hiroshima, Japan during the Spring of 2020 for members and individuals associated with PSR, IPPNW and other like minded organizations.
Please email RayMat@ume.org if you are interested in attending a video conference information session on either October 15th or October 17th, 2019.
Background: Months after the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, a small patch of red oleander flowers bloomed out of the irradiated rubble. Since then, oleanders have symbolized both the dangers of nuclear war and the hope of a more peaceful future. In a similar spirit, the Oleander Initiative leverages the “power of place” of Hiroshima – the first city to be devastated by nuclear weapons – to empower peacebuilders from around the world.
The Oleander Initiative inspires peacebuilders to formulate innovative approaches to their work by removing them from their usual contexts and immersing them in Hiroshima’s culture of peace. Throughout this experience, participants are encouraged to reflect upon the “lessons of Hiroshima” – pacifism, resilience, forgiveness, reconciliation, moving forward, and many more – and then work collaboratively to apply these lessons within their own local contexts. Since the inaugural program in 2016, dozens of educators, politicians, NGO workers, and civil society leaders from 14 countries have developed deep and actionable insight on their own practices via the Oleander Initiative.
Program Description: Throughout 2020, the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing, the Oleander Initiative is implementing custom designed one week programs that highlight elements of Hiroshima peace culture most salient to participants’ peacebuilding practices. Activities may include:
Possible Program Activities (to be co-designed with participants):
- Live testimonials from hibakusha atomic bomb survivors
- Instruction from top academics on peace culture, historical memory and reconciliation
- Visits to Peace Memorial Museum, Peace Park, Atomic Bomb Dome and other sites of conscience
- Visit to Radiation Effects Research Hospital – a medical institution studying the impact of radiation on hibakusha for over 70 years
- Site visits to Hiroshima schools– the only system in the world where peace education is mandatory in all levels of education
- Visits to hibaku- jomoku or A-bombed trees, a symbol of resilience and rebirth in Hiroshima
- Networking opportunities with Hiroshima peacebuilding academics, NGOs, and schools
- Trip to Konu (pop 2500), the surrounding countryside and Buddhist temples
- Day trip to Miyajima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Cultural Activities including Kagura performance, tea ceremony, and calligraphy
- A tour of Hiroshima’s culinary specialties based on the participants’ food preferences
Cost: $3000-$3500 includes all programming costs within Hiroshima such as housing, meals, transportation, cultural activities, fees to academics, NGOs and site visits. Excludes travel to and from Hiroshima.
Organizer: The Oleander Initiative is organized by UME, a Cambridge based, 501c 3 non-profit organization that builds bridges through education. Since its inception in 1997, UME has implemented 49 programs for over 2500 educators and community leaders. These programs have been co-organized with agencies such as the U.S. Department of State, UNESCO, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, and the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Endorsements: Endorsements include: Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima, Senator Edward Markey, Congressman James McGovern, and Henry Rosovsky, Former Acting President of Harvard University.
Media Coverage: The Oleander Initiative has been featured in USA Today, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, and broadcast on PBS in the United States and to over 120 countries on NHK World.