Volgograd welcomed peace volunteers from Hiroshima
Between May 23 and 27 of 2019, Volgograd greeted a delegation from our Japanese sister-city Hiroshima – namely, its Peace Culture Foundation, which, last year, started a new international project dedicated to the legacy of the A-bomb.
The project in question aims to spread the truth about the reality of the bombing by means of dispatching to other cities and countries “A-bomb Legacy Successor” and “A-bomb Memoir Readers”. These duties are performed by volunteers from Hiroshima: legacy successors retell and reconstruct the testimonies of hibakusha (the A-bombing survivors), and memoir readers read out abstracts from their testimonies and poems.
The delegation members were Ms. Kena Hirose – the project’s coordinator, Tsuji Seiji – an A-bomb Legacy Successor, Yoshiko Horimasu and Mitsuko Sako – A-bomb Memoir Readers.
On May 23, the peace volunteers organized a reading session on the platform of People’s Diplomacy Center in Volgograd State University, the representatives of which had previously visited Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation as Mayors for Peace interns. The second session, a shorter one, was held on May 24 in Lyceum No. 5 of the Central district of Volgograd in front of high-schoolers and featured an origami master class.
Both students and high-schoolers took an active part in sessions and Q&A sequences held afterwards, as well as translated some of the poems into Russian.
The cultural program of the delegation’s stay in Volgograd featured a meeting with Volgograd Council of Veterans and the Volgograd branch of “Russian Peace Foundation” , the associations that, too, are actively engaged in the preservation of historic memory.
What helped survivors of the Battle of Stalingrad and the siege of Leningrad to return to normal life and restore their cities? What gives them power to further cement and promote peace? Have they ever experienced survivors’ guilt, like some hibakusha? The Russian and Japanese participants of the meeting were raising difficult questions, but wholeheartedly supported the Chair of Volgograd Peace Foundation Mr. Yury Starivatykh with his live-affirming message:
“Together, we are Peace Ambassadors and conductors of people’s diplomacy. It is this noble and meaningful mission that gives us the impulse to work and live on and on.”
On May 27, Japanese guests paid a visit to the City Hall for a courtesy call with the Deputy Mayor of Volgograd Mr. Andrey Lyakh, who wished the delegation further success in the realization of their project.
Photos by: press-service of Volgograd State University and Lyceum No. 5.