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April 10, 2013
by JoAnn Sims, volunteer director,
World Friendship Center,
Peace resembles a patchwork quilt. A quilt contains pieces of cloth from relatives or neighbors. Peace contains agreements from countries or cultures from all over the world. A patchwork quilt begins when clothing is torn but there are pieces left of the past legacy that is still valuable fabric. What is left is carefully sewn together to make a quilt to keep you warm and comfortable. Peace is much the same, often beginning when a conflict ceases. Peace represents what is valuable to the future of a shared community.
Patchwork quilt pieces contain memories of the past but become one with a new united goal of future warmth and usefulness. Peace often requires a variety of cultures to cooperate together in creating new current and future interactions. Peace expresses what is useful and hopeful for a future of comfort, health, and prosperity. Peace is sewn together with threads of hope.
At World Friendship Center (WFC) in Hiroshima, Japan, the patchwork peace quilt began nearly 50 years ago with the hope that the horrors of the Atomic bomb would never again be repeated. The stories of survival and hope are the valuable pieces of a patchwork quilt for world peace. The past, current, and future activities of WFC represent the threads of hope that strengthen the movement toward peace. The motto of WFC is to foster peace one friend at a time.
Recently on March 5, 2013 World Friendship Center (WFC) was honored with a certificate and a monetary award of 100,000 yen (about $1,000) for its peace efforts beyond Japan’s national borders. One of those activities is WFC’s partnership at the grassroots level with China, Korea, and Japan to gather junior high and high school students for a week to build friendships and to dilute the discrimination that is often common in each country about the “other.” Peace Camp was held at a rustic campsite in rural Hiroshima in July. A second activity is sponsoring North Regional Asian Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI.) Young adults aged 25-40 from Mongolia, China, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, and Japan meet for two weeks of study in courses of Peace building, Restorative Justice, Peace Education, Conflict Resolution, & Story Telling for Peace. This past August WFC hosted NARPI in Hiroshima. The third WFC activity is exchanging peace (PAX) envoys between Japan, the United States, Korea, & Germany. These exchanges happen approximately every three years and have taken place for about 50 years.
At the same ceremony the Hiroshima Peace Creation Fund honored two other organizations for their international peace work. CANVaS organizes exchanges between Kazakhstan in areas of radiation education and health. JICA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, conveys the horror of the atomic bombing by holding over 100 A-Bomb exhibits in 55 nations. In Hiroshima the patchwork quilt of peace is built from the activities of many peace organizations. Each organization contributes legacies from the past that are sewn together with threads of hope for the future.