Elisabeth University of Music in Hiroshima, Japan hosted the 2018 ASEACCU Conference on August 21-26, 2018. The theme for this year’s conference is Catholic Education and Peace Initiatives. Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of the City of Hiroshima, Dr. Seung Chul Kim, Nanzan Institute Professor, and Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, S.J., President of Ateneo de Manila University of the Philippines delivered keynote lecture.
Mr. Matzui’s lecture titled From Hiroshima to Our World Free from Nuclear Weapons – Beyond Human Atrocities provided a glimpse of the harrowing and devastating damage caused by the bombing of Hiroshima as well as how the survivors reconstructed the city to be eventually recognized as a symbol of peace and hope. The lecture centered on the significant efforts of citizens to spread peace helping eradicate nuclear weapons through various initiatives such as the activities of the Mayors for Peace which consists of approximately 7,600 cities from 163 countries and regions around the world as well as promoting peace through welcoming visitors which calls on policymakers worldwide to visit the A-bombed cities.
Dr. Seung Chul Kim’s lecture titled Traces of the Divine: Peace and Reconciliation in the Novels of Shusako Endo focused on the dynamics of various forms of human interaction which is anchored on the idea that human beings leave a trace and that the traces we leave behind are marks of sufferings we inflict on others. The lecture illustrates this point by highlighting excerpts from the novels written by acclaimed Japanese writer Shusako Endo namely The Girl I Left Behind, Silence, and When I Whistle to show how these traces affect the lives of others.
The last keynote lecture Making Peace with Creation was delivered by Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, S.J. which emphasizes the role of nature as man’s ally in which the environmental crises have further deepened man’s disconnection from creation. Fr. Villarin proposed ten simple steps in order to recover our sense of stewardship and co-responsibility which places us on the path to reconciliation with creation.