International of New Zealand (SGINZ) conferred the Aotearoa Peace is Precious Award on anti-nuclear activist, Alyn Ware in a ceremony in Wellington earlier this week.
Alyn Ware is recognised as one of the world’s most effective peace workers, and has been leading initiatives for peace education and nuclear abolition in New Zealand and globally for more than 25 years. One of his achievements is as the World Court Project UN Coordinator which achieved a historic ruling from the World Court on the illegality of nuclear weapons.
More recently, Alyn Ware has been preparing a draft treaty on nuclear abolition which is promoted by the UN Secretary General. He was the recipient of the Rights Livelihood Award in 2009, also known as the alternative Nobel Prize.
SGINZ General Director Jimi Wallace recognised Alyn Ware’s friendship and support for SGI’s peace activities, including conferring a citation on SGI President Ikeda on the 50th anniversary of President Ikeda’s leadership of the SGI,
“We acknowledge his tremendous efforts to create a more peaceful world with this award”, Jimi Wallace said.
At the conferral ceremony, Alyn Ware cited SGI President Ikeda’s statement that peace is not just the absence of war and that it lies in our actions.
“The path to peace is not new but we need to elevate and make visible the stories of peacemakers. There are too many stories in the media which portray violence”.
Alyn Ware then recounted a time when he was asked to speak to a classroom of young students about peace and the environment. Just before the class ended, a boy asked him somewhat unexpectedly “How can I do when my brother beats me up?”
Realising that he has run out of time to talk about conflict resolution, Alyn simply advised “Rather than to fight back, why don’t you ask him “what’s you problem?”.
Some months later, Alyn ran into the same boy. “The boy asked “Do you remember me – I asked you what I should do when brother beats me up? Well, I did as you said and my brother is now my best friend.”
On the topic on nuclear abolition, he told Wellington SGI members that nuclear weapons are the ultimate destroyer.
“The existence of nuclear weapons changed our relationship with the world. We had to work for peace because if we don’t it will lead to destruction. ..In every crisis there is an opportunity. In New Zealand, it changed people’s thinking on what it means to be secure”, Alyn Ware said.
He believes one aspect of security is to look at alternative ways to conflict resolution. Using the example of the New Zealand-France relationship since the Rainbow Warrior bombing and sinking, he said there has been a shifting of collective consciousness from a competitive ‘me vs. you” to a more “win-win” framework.
Alyn also commended SGI’s efforts to build a global framework for peace and nuclear abolition through its educational exhibitions and People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition campaign. “We can all take some kind of action. It’s important to ask “What can I do?”.