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November 29, 2016

Italian Edition of Esquivel–Ikeda Dialogue Published

Italian edition of Esquivel-Ikeda dialogue

Italian edition of Esquivel–Ikeda dialogue

MILAN, Italy: On November 29, 2016, Milan-based publisher Esperia Edizioni organized a book launch for an Italian edition of Jinken no seiki e no messeiji (tentative translation: A Message to the Century of Human Rights), a dialogue between Argentine Nobel Peace laureate Dr. Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Daisaku Ikeda. In their dialogue, titled in Italian La forza della speranza (tentative translation: The Power of Hope), the authors share their insights and personal experiences on a broad range of topics from the history of the human rights movement, women’s rights and fostering youth, to sustaining the spirit of nonviolence and the power of ordinary citizens to advance peace.

Originally trained as a sculptor and architect, Dr. Pérez Esquivel is the founder of Servicio Paz y Justicia América Latina (SERPAJ-AL) (Latin American Peace and Justice Foundation) and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for his human rights advocacy and activism. He was imprisoned in 1977 and tortured for 14 months for his nonviolent opposition to the military dictatorship in Argentina. He first met Mr. Ikeda in Tokyo in December 1995 and the two agreed to collaborate on a dialogue, which was continued through written correspondence.

Dr. Esquivel gave a commemorative lecture at the book launch held at the Teatro Argentina in Rome, attended by 650 participants, in which he remarked that although the two authors grew up in different circumstances, they share a common perspective on peace and engaged in this dialogue to discuss how they can transform this hostile world into one of peace. Through their discussions, he said they concurred that peace is not something given by others but something we must create ourselves. Dr. Esquivel encouraged participants to take initiative as peacebuilders with a specific purpose and touched on various themes such as the importance of youth knowing one’s own roots, women being the light of hope in a violent era, and the role of education in nurturing in people critical thinking and positive values. He concluded his lecture with a message: Our differences should, in essence, enrich our humanity. If we work together, we can definitely change the world.

[Adapted from an article in the December 11, 2016, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]