On September 16, 2016, high school students from New York, Boston, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki came together to learn peace lessons from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Digital Archives at the Technologies of Peace Conference at the United Nations Headquarters. Students from Japan were also able to present their active projects; focused on promoting a cessation of armed conflict. “The Archives” is a community that organizes memories via digital mapping, a process where data is compiled and formatted into a virtual image to give a historical representation of a geographical area.
“The Archives” gathered the accounts of atomic bomb survivors, or Hibakusha, and created a community of records preserving their memories. Further, the Archives collected messages from social media users around the world containing their messages of hope for nuclear abolition and world peace. “The Archives” is intended to be a platform to gather stories for the future by sharing past memories and present messages. It was developed by Hidenori Watanave, an associate professor at the Faculty of System Design at Tokyo Metropolitan University and a visiting scholar at Harvard University. Mr. Watanave has developed several online programs which feature pivotal moments in Japanese history.
The conference also featured the story of Setsuko Thurlow, an atomic bomb survivor fromn Hiroshima. Ms. Thurlow gave in person testimony of her experiences during and after the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima when she was 13 years old. She discussed the consequences of nuclear war on civilian populations as well as her vision for lasting peace. In 2007, for her international work on nuclear disarmament, Ms. Thurlow was honored with the Order of Canada, one of the highest honors bestowed by the country. In 2015 she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Youth Arts New York/ Hibakusha Stories helped to organize the event and bring Ms. Thurlow to New York City. Over the last 8 years Hibakusha Stories has brought atomic bomb survivors into the lives of some 30,000 high school students through in-class presentations where youth have learned first hand about the devastating humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and war.
(Drafted by Anthony Musa)