Mayors for Peace
Following the devastating 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mayors for Peace was founded to contribute to the attainment of lasting world peace. Arousing concern among citizens of the world for the total abolition of nuclear weapons, Mayors for Peace contributes through close solidarity among member cities as well as by striving to solve vital problems for the human race such as starvation and poverty, the plight of refugees, human rights abuses, and environmental degradation
In August 1945, two single atomic bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and instantly reduced them to rubble, taking more than 210,000 precious lives. Even today, many survivors (hibakusha) still suffer from the aftereffects of radiation. To anyone who learns of the horrible devastation wrought by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is obvious that nuclear weapons are the most inhumane of any weapon ever developed, and that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil.
Mayor Matsui believes that, with the hibakusha aging, it is urgent to have their experiences and strong desire for peace wholeheartedly accepted by future generations, and to have those commitments spread throughout the world. He is convinced that disseminating the hibakusha’s message will eventually lead to the realization of their most cherished wish, the abolition of nuclear weapons.
To realize this goal, Hiroshima and Nagasaki established Mayors for Peace in 1982. Since its establishment, this non-partisan, non-governmental organization has been working to expand its membership in order to appeal for the realization of a world without nuclear weapons and lasting world peace through close solidarity among the cities of the world.
When Mr. Matsui first took office as Mayor in April 2011, he also assumed a role as President of Mayors for Peace. He considers it an important responsibility as Mayor of Hiroshima to transmit the message of peace to the world, believing that his 35-years of expertise working for the Japanese government in the fields of social welfare and labor would be valuable in conducting this mission.
As the President of Mayors for Peace, he has been tirelessly working with member cities across the globe to foster and expand international public support for a world without nuclear weapons by strengthening solidarity among civil society members. He thus aims to help nurture better conditions for policymakers to boldly exercise leadership. Since he became the President, Mayors for Peace has gained more than 3,000 new members, and its membership as of May 1 stands at 7,756 cities from 163 countries and regions.
In order to foster international public opinion, Mayors for Peace is promoting various projects, including peace education programs to raise awareness among younger generations and passing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s messages. One such initiative is the distribution of seeds and seedlings from A-bombed trees to member cities. The project was launched in the hope that taking care of the A-bombed trees, which serve as symbols of peace, will help raise citizens’ awareness of peace. Mayors for Peace has sent seeds or seedlings to 152 cities and 4 organizations in 18 countries so far. As part of this project, the awardees at the 2018 Tribeca Disruptor Awards, including ICAN’s Executive Director Beatrice Fihn, planted seeds from A-bombed trees from Hiroshima in pots during the award ceremony.
Born on January 25, 1948 in Chiba, Japan.
Current Chairperson of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and Secretary General of Mayors for Peace
After graduating from the Faculty of Law at Hosei University, Komizo entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1970 and, in and away from the Ministry, held the following positions:
Special Assistant to Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
(Received Distinguished Service Award from IAEA in 2002)
Director, International Nuclear Energy Cooperation Division Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department, MOFA
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the State of Kuwait
Recent Activities and Interests:
“No one else shall ever again suffer as we have.” With this precious call stemming from the indescribable tragedy of those who survived the atomic bombing always in mind, Komizo devotes himself to disseminating a message of peace from Hiroshima, a place where the determined call for peace and nuclear weapons abolition originated. When dignitaries visit Hiroshima, he offers them a tour of the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. They include such Nobel Peace Prize laureates as the former Polish President Lech Wałęsa and the former Costa Rican President Óscar Arias Sánchez as well as sitting political leaders such as President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In the tours, he conveys not only the actual damage wrought by the bombing as well as the hibakusha’s message formed through the tragedy and struggle of Hiroshima but also asks dignitaries to renew their commitment for peace.
Since the hibakusha are aging, Komizo also strives to hand down the A-bomb experiences to younger generations around the world. Through active interactions with young people, he inspires them to firmly retain the experiences and peaceful wish of the hibakusha, to share their desire for the abolition of nuclear weapons and to take action with them.
In his capacity of Secretary General of Mayors for Peace, whose membership now exceeds 7,709 cities from 163 countries and regions, Komizo visits many different parts of the world. Making the best use of his wide-range network and rich experience as a former diplomat, he cultivates solidarities with not only Mayors for Peace member cities, but respective governments and NGOs. He also takes part in various international conferences, including the NPT Review Conference, the international conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons and the UN Negotiations on a Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons, where he sends out the spirit of Hiroshima calling for a peaceful world free from nuclear weapons from the perspective of the entire human race. He also serves member of Eminent Persons Group for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament, since July 2017.
Tomihisa Taue is the Mayor of Nagasaki City. He currently serves as the President of the National Council of Japan Nuclear Free Local Authorities, Vice-President of the Mayor for Peace, President of the Nagasaki Prefecture Association of City Mayors, Chairperson of the Nagasaki Prefecture Association of Municipalities, and Adviser to the Japan Association of City Mayors.
Having graduated from the Faculty of Law, Kyushu University in March 1980, he began his professional career at the Nagasaki City Hall. He served as the Director of the Tourism Promotion Section, Tourism Department (April 2002) and Director of the Statistics Section, Planning Department (April 2004).
He was elected as the 32nd Mayor of Nagasaki in April 2007, the 33rd Mayor of Nagasaki in April 2011, 34th Mayor of Nagasaki in April 2015, and 35th Mayor of Nagasaki in April 2019.
T.M. Franklin Cownie
Des Moines, Iowa Mayor T.M. Franklin Cownie, born and raised in Des Moines, became a member of Council in January 2002. In January 2004, he was sworn in to the mayor’s office and is Des Moines’ longest-serving mayor.
Mayor Cownie serves in leadership roles on the local, national, and international stages representing issues that he is most passionate about – elimination of nuclear weapons, local control, green initiatives, jobs, and the economy. A few of his leadership roles include: Mayors for Peace United States Vice President since 2017; original member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns; National Urban & Community Forestry Advisory Council Committee Member (2010-2012); ICLEI USA Board of Directors since 2009; ICLEI Global Executive Committee North America Regional Representative since 2012, ICLEI e.V. Board Vice President since 2015; President Obama’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience; Mayors Innovation Project Steering Committee Member since 2006; and United States Conference of Mayors Board of Trustees Executive Committee since 2010.
He works diligently with his fellow council members for sustainable growth in the city towards producing long-term benefits to the community. His goal has always been to build a brighter future and a better community for generations to come.