- International Society for Universal DialogueHiroshima, Japan, June 1–5, 2007
During the summer of 2007, I participated in the Seventh World Congress of the International Society for Universal Dialogue (ISUD) in Hiroshima, Japan. Founded in 1989, the ISUD is an interdisciplinary professional organization committed to intercultural dialogue. Most of the members are philosophers, but other disciplines are represented as well. The keynote address on the Islamic just war theory was delivered by Prof. Hanafi Hassan (Cairo University). Papers from the Hiroshima conference can be found at http://www.isud.org.
One morning participants at the meeting toured Hiroshima’s beautiful Peace Memorial Park, which includes the Peace Museum, the famous A-Bomb Dome, and a number of other shrines dedicated to victims of the first wartime use of a nuclear weapon. Participants also took a day-long excursion to Miyajima Island, the site of the Itsukushima Shrine and the O-Torii (Grand Gate). The visit included a tour of the Daishoin Temple, headquarters of the Omuro branch of Shingon Buddhism, and a presentation from the temple’s chief priest, Rev. Yoshida Shoyu. The day ended with a tea ceremony at Hambei-teien Garden.
Between paper sessions, I visited Hiroshima’s Memorial Cathedral for World Peace, an impressive house of worship built after World War II by Jesuit missionary, A-bomb survivor, and “Christian Zen” pioneer Hugo Enomiya-Lassalle (1898–1990).
An unforgettable part of my visit was the opportunity to hear the testimony of Akihiro Takahashi, former director of the city’s Peace Museum and a hibakusha (A-bomb survivor). His presentation, using childhood paintings and autobiographical narrative to recount a schoolboy’s life-changing experience on August 6, 1945, was profoundly moving.
The ISUD will sponsor a roundtable session at the XXII World Congress of Philosophy in Seoul, Korea, July 30–August 5, 2008. Information can be found at [End Page 153] http://www.wcp2008.0r.kr. The next ISUD meeting will be held at Beijing International Studies University, July 23–28, 2009. The theme will be “Dialogue among Cultures: Peace, Justice and Harmony.” For information regarding the call for papers, visit www.isud.org or contact Dr. Marc Lucht (Alvernia College) at email@example.com. [End Page 154]