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The roster of keynote speakers includes two Nobel Peace Laureates —Shirin Ebadi of Iran and Jody Williams of the United States—as well as U.N. Under-Secretary -General Anwarul K. Chowdhury of Bangladesh, Mitsuko Horiuchi of Japan, who is the former regional director for Asia Pacific of the International Labor Organization, and former Minister of Political Affairs Yunsook Lee of South Korea. Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba is honorary chair. He is president of Mayors for Peace, an organization of more than 1,300 member cities.

Entitled “Building a Just and Sustainable Peace,” the conference will take place August 31 – September 4 and is designed to galvanize support for improving education, health, the environment and social equity as a prelude to peace. As part of this effort, Lehman plans to establish a Center for Peace and Human Rights Education to foster cross-cultural and interdisciplinary research in these areas, develop appropriate K-12 curricular materials, and encourage public engagement in the movement away from war and violence and toward peace and justice.

“From the very beginning of its history, Lehman College has had a strong commitment to the goal of finding peaceful solutions to human conflict,” noted Dr. Ricardo R. Fernández, president of Lehman. The first sessions of the U.N. Security Council were held on its campus, and the College frequently sponsors events tied to the U.N. or its mission, including a 2004 symposium on the role of women in world peace and the role of men and boys in gender equity.

“Our namesake, Governor Herbert H. Lehman, was a strong supporter of the U.N. and of human rights and social justice,” Dr. Fernández said. “As an institution, we remain committed to continuing in that spirit.” In addition to welcoming attendees in a ceremony at the Hiroshima Art Museum, Dr. Fernández will chair the panel discussing the role of education in the eradication of illiteracy, poverty and discrimination. He is Vice Chair/Chair-Elect of the American Council on Education, the major coordinating body for higher education in the United States.

The other sponsors of the symposium are: IHAN (International Health Awareness Network); the Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the United Nations; the Office of the U.N. Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States; The Ribbon International; The University of the District of Columbia; and Abington College of Penn State University.

Other speakers include Dr. Sorosh Roshan, president of IHAN and program chair for the conference; environmentalist Henry Mensen; Dr. Purificacion Quisumbing, chair of the Philippines Human Rights Commission; human rights lawyer Mikiko Otani; leaders from the fields of education, politics and health; and representatives of the sponsoring organizations.

The conference will also feature a gathering at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, led by the Nobel Laureates, a ribbon ceremony and children’s performance at Peace Memorial Park, a band concert and a recital by the renowned Japanese dancer Eiko Otake. Most events will be held inside the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Go to the Blog >>