The Dayton International Peace Museum

Dove   Located in the city that hosted the 1995 diplomatic accords that ended the three and half year-long Bosnian Civil War, the Dayton International Peace Museum is the result of peace – loving energy, funded as a non-profit and run by an all-volunteer staff that strongly promotes “nonviolent conflict resolution, social justice issues, international relations and peace.” Dedicated to advancing a worldwide culture of amity and friendship, it is also a very unique institution since it is only the second museum in the United States to take up such a cause – a fact largely due to the strong convictions of its founders. This educational establishment features temporary, permanent and traveling exhibits that laud the history and future prospect of nonviolent resolution to human dilemma throughout the world. For those hoping to foster the proactive means of ending senseless acts of terrorism, the message promoted by the organizers is clear and on the mark in a very relevant fashion.

Museum

The Museum Is Housed In A Building Known As The Pollack House
Photo credit: THX0477 / Foter.com / CC BY

The founders for the Dayton International Peace Museum are a collection of people richly steeped in the traditions of peaceable endeavors. Ralph and Christine Dull are lifelong devotees to peace activism and members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which has been working for international peace, justice and nonviolence since 1915. A teacher by trade, Christine served on the National Council of FOR for a period of 3 years, whereas Ralph, who is an Ohio farmer, has received awards for his commitment to environmental stewardship and authored a book on conflict resolution, entitled Nonviolence Is Not for Wimps: Musings of an Ohio Farmer. Together Ralph and Christine have co-authored Soviet Laughter, Soviet Tears: An American Couple’s Six-Month Adventure in a Ukrainian Village, which chronicles their 1989 trip to establish friendship with the citizens of the former Soviet Union. Other founders include the writer J. Frederick Arment, who is also an educator and marketing planner, and the ceramic artist and graphic designer Lisa Wolters. A former police officer and Veteran for Peace, Steve Fryburg is not only a co-founding pioneer of the museum but has also served as its director for many years. The Dayton Peace Museum, Inc., legally designated as a non-profit in the State of Ohio, officially opened its doors on May 27, 2004 as a “place to learn, contemplate, dream, and work for realization of a more peaceful world.” The founders combined their own private savings with a $10,000 grant from the Dayton People’s Fund to bring Christine Dull’s initial 2003 dream to fruition.

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An Exhibit Calls For The End Of World Hunger
Photo credit: Uriel 1998 / Foter.com / CC BY

Housed in a Victorian style building known in the Dayton area as the Pollack House, the museum serves the more traditional purpose of including displays that relate to peace and the propagation of peace, but also as a municipal center of activities for those who choose to discuss, learn and promote amity on the local, national, and international level. Programs sponsored by the museum are both educational and cultural in nature, striving “through a multi-sensory and multi-pronged approach, to present and inspire a peaceful alternative to the culture of violence so prevalent in our society.” Efforts reach out to school age children, at-risk youth in detention centers or social service programs, victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, church groups, universities, teachers, parents, and social service workers. Center stage in their efforts is program entitled “Peace-Abilities,” an experiential program for both young and old that demonstrates how feelings can lead to conflict and violence with other people when left unmanaged, but which can also take on the greater powers of healing and reconciliation when channeled respectfully and appropriately.

Exhibits within the museum are both temporary and permanent, but in each case the intent is to “inform, inspire and instigate” further interest and involvement in the dissemination of peace. Each display involves information, related points of discussion, and supplemental follow-up activities to broaden the museum’s impact on the visitor – for the three instructive levels of elementary children, intermediate students, and young adults. Permanent exhibits include one in the “Dayton Room” that is dedicated to the lifelong endeavors of Sister Dorothy Stang, a member of the Catholic religious order of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur – who spent many years as a proponent of ecology in the rainforests of Brazil fighting against deforestation. Although committed to nonviolence and worldwide peace, Sister Dorothy was brutally murdered on February 12, 2005, thereby making the exhibit an impassioned commemoration to her memory as well. Temporary displays have included an exhibition entitled “Faces of Iran,” which includes photographs taken in that country by founding member Steve Fryburg and the video “Iran, Yesterday and Today” produced by travel expert Rick Steves. Efforts by the Dayton International Museum of Peace also include a devoted element of outreach in the form of the Peacemobile, a “classroom van” designed for the purpose of transporting mobile exhibits to interested organizations throughout the immediate area of Dayton, Ohio.

The cornerstone in the museum’s philosophy is the realization of common ground and mutual respect for all people “no matter what creed race, religion, idea, or other areas of the diverse worldwide peace community they represent.” Research on the subject of promoting “tolerance” amongst the variety of cultures in the world strongly agrees with this ideal, indicating that terroristic violence stems in many respects from prejudice, cultural misunderstanding, religious narrow mindedness, and related fear. As noted by the Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies (BFCS), founded by the German chemist and peace activist Georg Zundel in 1971, increasing the international awareness of tolerance is a direct avenue to conflict reduction, the advancement of democracy and human rights, and the ultimate promotion of non-violence and peace. Laura Bush, who was the First Lady in the White House at the time of the 911 attacks, has listed it as the primary “moderating influence” in the eradication of worldwide terrorism. Undeniably, the founders of the Dayton International Museum of Peace should be praised for their commitment to this precept. You can show your support for worldwide tolerance and peace by clicking on the link below and signing the petition to which this website is dedicated.

You can help promote the establishment of a monument dedicated to all American victims of terrorism, whether they died at home or abroad, by clicking the link above and signing the petition. Nothing is asked but your signature for a good cause.

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The Japanese Peace Bell: “Long Live Absolute World Peace.”

BellPresented on June 8, 1954, the Japanese Peace Bell was a gift to the United Nations on the part of the United Nations Association of Japan, a post-World War II organization that had formed in 1947 as a means of promoting Japan’s entry into the UN. At the time, Japan had not been officially accepted into the United Nations as a member country – but nevertheless the bell embodied “the aspiration for peace not only of the Japanese but of the peoples of the entire world.” Offered by Renzo Sawada, the Japanese Observer to the UN at the time, the bell has always symbolized peace and the “universality of the United Nations.” Except for a brief trip to Osaka, Japan to be included in the Expo 1970 celebration, it has always rested at its permanent location on the corner of 42nd Street and First Avenue in New York City  – just inside the grounds of the United Nations facility. There are more than twenty copies of the famous bell located throughout the world, all of which have been donated by the Japanese World Peace Bell Association.

Japanese Peace Bell at United Nations Headquarters

The Japanese Peace Bell is Located on the Grounds of the United Nations in New York
Photo credit: United Nations Photo / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Cast from metal coins that were collected from the delegates of 60 different countries attending the Thirteenth General Conference of United Nation Associations held in Paris in 1951, as well as from private citizens in those nations, the bell was actually fabricated by the Tada Factory of Japan. Completed on United Nations Day, October 24, 1952, it was donated to the UN on the advice of the man who designed and cast it, Chiyoji Nakagawa – the one time Mayor of Uwajima, Japan. Nakagawa made it his private mission to remind the world of the need for peace, and to symbolically expound against the use of atomic weapons like those that had destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At its present resting spot in New York City, the famous bell is still supported by soil transported from the blast sites at those two cities. It is 3 feet 3 inches high and 2 feet in diameter at the base, with a weight of approximately 256 pounds. Housed in a Shinto shrine made of cypress wood, the bell is inscribed with the Japanese words “Long Live Absolute World Peace.” The stone base of the Peace Bell is the donation of yet another country very familiar with the massive loss of lives at the time of war – Israel.

Traditionally, the bell has rung out on two occasions during any given year. First, in honor of Earth Day as originally established (on March 21) by its founder John McConnell, and secondly on the opening day of the UN General Assembly on September 21 – which is also recognized by United Nations member countries as the International Day of Peace. However, it has also tolled infrequently in honor of special occasions, such as on October 4, 1966 (Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) to mark the one year anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s historic visit to the United Nations in New York City. On that day, the bell was tolled by three girls and four boys from the United Nations International School. The hammer that is now part of the Peace Bell came as a presentation to the United Nations in 1977, whereas a bell cord came during an Earth Day presentation to the UN on March 20, 1990. In 1982, the World Peace Bell Association was formed in Tokyo, Japan with the teamwork of 128 ambassadors from nations around the world – as a means of promoting a world free of nuclear war. Five replicas of the Peace Bell have been placed at places in Japan, and 15 separate countries around the globe have also been the recipients of peace bells.

Boutros Ghali

Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Photo credit: International Monetary Fund / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

The year 1994 marked the fortieth anniversary of the Japanese Peace Bell, prompting an official ceremony of recognition on the part of the UN – which was attended by many and presided over by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Boutros-Ghali proclaimed that “whenever it has sounded, this Japanese Peace Bell has sent a clear message. The message is addressed to all humanity. Peace is precious. It is not enough to yearn for peace. Peace requires work — long, hard, difficult work.” Symbols such as the Peace Bell are more than just inanimate objects occupying time and space without a purpose, since they speak profoundly in a universal language that needs no words. Peace symbols in particular speak outwardly to humanity concerning the inward need within all of us for tranquility. A monument to those that have passed away as victims of terrorism – whether they have died at home or abroad – would speak to this need in a very special way. Such a marker goes beyond simple recognition of those that have died, announcing the universal need for amity amongst the human race. Please join us in our efforts to promote such a statement on peace by clicking the link below and signing the petition to which this website is committed.

You can help promote the establishment of a monument dedicated to all American victims of terrorism, whether they died at home or abroad, by clicking the link above and signing the petition. Nothing is asked but your signature for a good cause.

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