14th Forum 2000 Conference: Hiroshima-Nagasaki Exhibition

Prague, Czech Republic

President Havel, Dr. Ferguson, Ms. Sasamori, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor to say a few words here tonight at the opening of this exhibition.

This is the first time that an exhibition of this kind is being held here in the Czech Republic. But the connection between Hiroshima, this country, and the city of Prague runs deep. It was the Czech Architect Jan Letzel who designed the dome that later became immortalized as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. It was a visit to Hiroshima by President Havel that inspired the launch of the Forum 2000 Conferences – a forum that brings together like-minded individuals each year here in Prague. And it was here in the city of Prague that the momentum to work towards a world free of nuclear weapons was recently reignited.

Interest in nuclear issues is clearly on the rise. Meetings and symposiums on nuclear weapons are being held all over the world. Just today, in one of the afternoon sessions, there was a lively and informative debate on this very issue.


When we think of nuclear weapons, we tend to think of the external threat that they pose. But I believe that the real threat is rooted within us. Like all technology, nuclear technology was developed by humans, in the name of progress and development. There is no question that it has benefited the lives of many people. Yet this same technology has also brought fear and suffering. Technology is a double-edged sword we must live with. All the more reason, then, to take it as a chance to examine our conscience, our ethics, and our philosophy.

In discussing terrorism, conflict, environmental destruction and economic disparity, Forum 2000 has sought a broad range of views. Not just those of policymakers, but also those of civil society, religious leaders, philosophers, and artists. While making policy recommendations and drawing up legal frameworks are important, this forum seeks to go further.

By adopting a more cultural, a more moral approach, we look inside ourselves for answers. Through our repeated interactions, we find significance in the search for common values and ethics – the moral minimum.

It is my hope that this exhibition will prove an inspiration in the search for that moral minimum.