Welcome Message from Rev. Takeyasu Miyamoto
President of the Arigatou Foundation, Leader of Myochikai
from the GNRC Third Forum Participants Program
It has already been 8 years since we inaugurated the GNRC. Thanks to your efforts and those of many other GNRC members around the world, the dreams we shared in Tokyo in 2000 are starting to come to fruition.
Our interfaith cooperation initiatives have been making a difference for children in six major world regions. GNRC members are addressing issues like poverty and violence, and working to build peace and promote child rights. My sincere thanks go out to all of you, and to our many friends who could not make the trip to Hiroshima yet continue to work together for children and support the GNRC.
In closer partnership with UNICEF and UNESCO, the GNRC is beginning to make an impact on the global level, as well. Here at the Third Forum, we will introduce the first tangible product of our worldwide ethics education initiative: Learning to Live Together: An Interfaith and Intercultural Program for Ethics Education. I earnestly hope that it will serve people around the world as an essential tool for fostering reconciliation and empowering children and young people to change our world, and ultimately, building world peace. I also welcome the progress of the GNRC/UNICEF study, "Children in World Religions," and I would like to convey my appreciation for the dedication of all those who have brought about these remarkable achievements.
The Forum theme, "Learning to Share: Values, Action, Hope," represents a significant departure from today's world, so full of injustice, division, competition, and conflict. It is my hope to see every child growing up in a world lovingly shared by all living things - where all people, whether adults or children, actively support one another with compassion and a heart of prayer for others. I believe that it is our mission, as people of faith, to convey these values to children and to cooperate with one another to build such a world of sharing.
On August 1, 1964, I witnessed the original lighting ceremony of Hiroshima's Flame of Peace, after Rev. Mitsu Miyamoto, founder of Myochikai, and I had been involved in the planning and preparation. We carried our own flame of peace from Myochikai headquarters in Tokyo all the way to Hiroshima, and saw it united with the Flame that day in one shared prayer for lasting world peace. It is my sincere hope that being here in Hiroshima, the site of unspeakable atomic horrors little more than half a century ago, and a place of constant prayer for lasting peace ever since, will provide us all with a significant opportunity to revisit the original spirit of the GNRC -- "prayer and practice" -- and to renew our commitment as people of faith to make even greater progress for the sake of all the world's children.
May the blessings and wisdom of the Divine Presence be with you all.