‘Ending Nuclear Weapons Before They End Us’
March 4—The Back from the Brink national grassroots campaign and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, convened a virtual policy briefing with interactive workshops, themed “Ending Nuclear Weapons Before They End Us: Opportunities Under the Biden Administration to Take Action.”
The SGI-USA is a member of the Back from the Brink campaign, and Danny Hall, the SGI-USA’s director of Public Affairs, serves on its facilitating group. Providing a backdrop for the gathering, the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) had entered into force on Jan. 22.
The event aimed to call on the new U.S. presidential administration to prioritize the elimination of nuclear weapons. It also sought to help mobilize the grassroots base of support necessary to create the political will for a fundamental change in U.S. nuclear weapons policy on the federal level.
Mr. Hall moderated a policy briefing portion of the event with a panel of top-flight experts, which included ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn and Thomas Countryman, chair of the board of the Arms Control Association and former acting undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security.
Mr. Countryman voiced his support for a shift in the U.S. posture toward the TPNW and has publicly expressed the belief that the United States needs to take a clear stance on viewing the TPNW as a “good faith effort by the majority of the world’s nations to fulfill their own [nuclear] disarmament obligations and help build the legal framework for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.”
This event helped engage scientists, policy experts, activists and religious leaders in substantive dialogue toward ridding the world of weapons of mass destruction. Organizing this event in partnership with experts from specialist groups—such as the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation—the SGI continues its long-standing commitment to disarmament.
In 2014, the SGI and SGI-USA co-organized the conference “Making a Difference: Faith Communities and the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons at the United States Institute of Peace.” Three years later, the SGI-USA, in partnership with other organizations of the nuclear abolitionist community, sponsored the conference “Toward a Fundamental Change in Nuclear Weapons Policy” at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
While bringing together a broad coalition of individuals and organizations toward a nuclear weapons-free world, the March 4, 2021, event also received support from the Vatican through a letter issued by Monsignor Bruno-Marie Duffe, secretary of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
—Adapted from a report by SGI-USA Director of Public Affairs Danny Hall
Soka Gakkai’s Legacy Toward Nuclear Abolition
8/6 + 8/9/1945 After the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear attacks, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda reconstructs the Soka Gakkai.
9/8/1957 President Toda makes his landmark Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.
1/10/1975 Ikeda Sensei delivers to the U.N. secretary-general over 10 million signatures petitioning for nuclear disarmament.
1/26/1983 Sensei commences his annual peace proposals to the international community, including the U.N. In them, he often emphasizes a sense of urgency toward nuclear abolition.
9/8/2007 SGI launches the “People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition” campaign, collaborating with such anti-nuclear movements as the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
10/6/2017 ICAN is named the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winner for its campaign to outlaw nuclear weapons. Three months prior, the ICAN executive director publicly stated, “SGI has been one of our greatest partners in this fight.”
1/22/2021 The first legally binding international nuclear ban treaty enters into force under the U.N. During negotiations, the SGI puts forth proposals that were later reflected in this treaty, including reference to disarmament education.