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Daily Updates: Friday, September 01, 2006 - Afternoon Session

Hiroshima, Japan -  During the afternoon session, attendees were introduced to Tatsuo Tanaka, founder of Lehman College at CUNY Hiroshima (1989-1995). They were also inspired by 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams and by, among others, Dr. Vijaya Melnick, the First Vice President of IHAN; Dr. Suad Al-Dasuqi, board member for the Jordan Association for Family Planning; and Mikko Otani, an attorney-at-law in Japan who specializes in the area of international human rights.

The highlight of the session was without doubt the speech of Professor Williams, who was introduced as “one of the world’s most treasured possessions.”

Professor Williams, who first joked about the faxes that helped her win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, called on American citizens to help eliminate the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world. She also criticized the United States government’s actions after 9/11. She said that Americans should have engaged in a national debate, but instead they were silenced, not only by terrorists but also by their own government. She went on to say that she did not support the Bush administration’s decision for war and that she will support those who stand against the war and those who question their governments.

“Ignorance in history makes it repeat. But there is no excuse for ignorance in America,” said Professor Williams. “If you care about something, do something. If not, then you are part of the problem.” [View Video Clip]

Professor Williams ended by saying that her biggest contribution to the world would be to inspire one person to do what she does and to share the same goal.

“You have to think positively even in the midst of doom,” she said. “But I don’t like doom and I am doing something about it.”

The afternoon session concluded with the presentation by Dr. Melnick, who entitled her address “Health as an Imperative for Global Peace and Security.” She said that healthcare reform could provide tangible improvements and could provide necessary steps to improve nations’ peace and security.