Interns from Illinois Weslyan University

2022 Interns from IWU - Aja and LauraWFC is happy to welcome Aja Golliday and Laura Westpfal as interns from Illinois Wesleyan University!

 

Aja is a Psychology major with a minor in Japanese Studies, while Laura is a graphic design major with a minor in Japanese Studies, and this internship is one of the last tasks they have to complete before graduating!

 

They will be here until August 13th. As part of their learning experience, they’ve visited various sites at Peace Memorial Park and around Hiroshima, been introduced to WFC English Classes and the Riji, and have listened to hibakusha share their stories.

 

Aja and Laura have also been working on other projects: Aja is continuing work to label the various gifts and artifacts WFC has on display which will provide a richer experience to visitors of the center. Laura is applying her technical skills by improving the logos for the WFC Yu-Ai newsletter.


Stop by anytime to get to know them!

WFC 8.6 DAY
“Delivering the Voices of Hibakusha to the World”
 

August6 flier2022 WFC 8.6チラシ2022_English

 

77th Memorial Day since the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945.

Barbara Reynolds, the founder of the World Friendship Center, had a consistent desire to “bring the voices of hibakusha to the world” and “abolish nuclear weapons.”

However, 77 years later, the abolition of nuclear weapons has not been achieved.

We welcome you to join us for these programs,

remembering those who lost their lives  in the atomic bombing.

Download 8.6 flier >


Hibakusha Talk by Ms. Toshiko Tanaka held in the morning (Japan time) would be in English only.

Please REGISTER here:  https://bit.ly/3AFdnyq

Download the Hibakusha Talk flier >

“Friends Day 2022”

Friends Day 2022“Fostering peace, one friend at a time.”
Yesterday WFC held our inaugural Friends Day at the Hiroshima International House!
 
Once again, we would like to thank everyone who attended in spite of the extremely hot weather. Thank you very much.
 
We had so much fun sharing history, recognizing volunteers, playing games, and chatting together.
 
We are pleased to have had this time to express our gratitude to all who support WFC.
 
We would also like to thank the college students from Jogakuin University, a former intern, and daughters of a staff member. It was because of the help of these young people who worked behind the scenes, that we were able to hold this event successfully. We are truly grateful to them.
 
We look forward to spending more time together with friends new and lifelong!
 
We hope you will continue to walk with us on our journey!
NPO World Friendship Center
 

Remembering Lela Evaleen (Evie) Bertsche, former Director of WFC

Lela Evaleen (Evie) BertscheLela Evaleen (Evie) Bertsche, former Director of WFC, passed away on February 3rd, 2022. We thank all of you for your kindness during Evie’s time in Japan and beyond, and respectfully inform you of her passing.
 
“Evie Bertsche, who left a big footprint in our hearts.”
 
On February 3, 2022, Lela Evaleen (Evie) Bertsche passed away at a nursing home in Goshen, Indiana. She was 83 years old.
 
She was sent by the Brethren Volunteer Service and the Mennonite Mission Network from 2001 to 2003 to serve as a Director of WFC alongside her husband, David.
 
During her term, she received more than 2000 guests from 47 countries, taught English classes, and participated in various peace activities.
 
Lela Evaleen (Evie) Bertsche
Thanks to Mr. and Ms. Bertsche, who strongly desired for good relations between Japan and Korea, Korean PAX started in 2003. We are sincerely grateful to them for building a bridge between Japan and Korea, our neighboring country. This legacy, Korean PAX, continues to this day.
 
After returning to the U.S., they settled in Goshen, where their children lived, and were actively involved in church activities. She also served as a Chair of the American Committee.
 
We will never forget Evie’s compassion for people, kindness and smile. We learned from Evie that with thoughtfulness and a smile, any relationships will go well.
 
NPO World Friendship Center

Roger & Kathy Edmark passing the baton

Change of Diretors 2022 Roger&Kathy EdmarkCherry blossoms are in full bloom in Hiroshima.
Thank you for your continued support of WFC.

 

In March, the restrictions on entry into Japan were lifted, and at the same time, visas were issued to the incoming directors, Matthew and Malachi.

 

Originally, the change of directors was scheduled for last summer, but after a seven months delay, Matthew and Malachi arrived in Japan at the end of March.

 

The directors, Roger and Kathy, continued to work for WFC for seven additional months in the midst of a pandemic, even after their two-year term was up, willing to serve as long as they could. We cannot thank them enough.

 

We would also like to thank their families in Seattle who have been waiting so long for their return.

 

Roger and Kathy left Hiroshima on April 1, after a short transition period with Matthew and Malachi, and returned to their families in Seattle.

 

We believe the two years and seven months have been an enjoyable and precious time for the directors and for everyone who has spent time with them.

 

We would like to express our deepest gratitude for the kindness received from everyone.

 

Please visit the official WFC Facebook page for more photos of Roger and Kathy on the day of their departure.

 

We were blessed with beautiful weather on the day of their departure, and the beautiful Japanese spring🌸 landscape also saw Roger and Kathy off.

Hiroshima Shudo University’s “Hiroshima Tour Guide Program”

2022.03.10_Shudo UniversityWorld Friendship Center members took part as guides in “Hiroshima Tour Guide program 2021” promoted by Hiroshima Shudo University. This program is designed to help students of Hiroshima Shudo University learn about the monuments in Peace Park, so that they will be able to guide visitors from abroad and also acquire skills to talk about “Hiroshima” in their own words.

 

The guided tours were carried out on March 10th and 11th under clear skies, and four members from WFC, Mikiko Shimizu, Yoko Mimura, Miho Ikeda and Katsumi Takahashi, participated as English-speaking guides. Split into four groups consisting of three students and one teacher, the tour lasted about 2 hours, including a Q&A session and some time to talk about experiences as guides.

 

All of the students were eager to take notes and asked many questions, and we learned a lot from them. We had a great time with the young students and had a meaningful time with them. We are so grateful.

World Friendship Center’s statement against
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

WFC Logo



World Friendship Center’s statement against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

 

We urge the Russian troops to stop their attacks on the Ukrainian people and withdraw from Ukraine immediately.

 

On February 24th, 2022, as the world looked on, Russian forces illegally invaded Ukraine.  The war has forced millions of Ukrainians to leave the country and the indiscriminate bombing of residential areas in Ukraine has killed many civilians.  The recklessness at which Russia attacked a nuclear power plant was unfathomable. We strongly condemn this hegemonic military invasion.

 

And even worse, Russian President Vladimir Putin by putting his nuclear weapons arsenal on high alert, is moving the world even closer to a cataclysmic war that could threaten the future of our civilization.

 

Hibakusha, who experienced the A-bomb that exploded over Hiroshima, know the devastation wrought by a nuclear bomb.  Their message to the world is clear.  What happened here in Hiroshima almost 77 years ago, and three days later in Nagasaki, must never happen again.

 

We know that nuclear arsenals do not bring about security nor peace. Until the day the threat of nuclear weapons is eliminated from the earth, we will continue to cooperate and appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons together with people around the world.

 

Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people, and we join with all those that are speaking out, to put an end to this conflict. 

 

March 10, 2022
NPO World Friendship Center 

Concurred with by:
American Committee of World Friendship Center, McMinnville, Oregon
Peace Resource Center of Wilmington College, Wilmington Ohio

 

Peace Concert in Support of WFC

peace concert in support of WFCIn October of 2021, a church in Oregon in the United States, McMinnville Baptist Church, put on a  World Friendship Center.  Ed Groff, of Brethren Voices, has produced a program from the concert, along with images from Hiroshima filmed by Brent Carlson when he visited WFC in November of 2019 .  Mike Stern and Bill Jolliff were the featured musicians for the concert.

 

WFC is very familiar with Mike Stern since he has come to Hiroshima to share his music in the past.  Bill Jolliff is a professor of English at George Fox University, a school founded by Quakers in Oregon.  Both Mike and Bill’s music bring themes of peace, and justice, and faith and our need to act when we see an injustice in the world.

 

Personally, we are good friends with Mike, Brent and Ed and have met Bill in the past.  What a wonderful gift they have given us by capturing these songs from the concert.   We also want to thank the McMinnville Baptist church for their support for World Friendship Center by putting on this concert.  Though we are sure there were many helping hands to put on such an event, we wanted to recognize Erika Marksbury, pastor of the church, and Larry and JoAnn Sims, church members.  Erika, Larry and JoAnn are on the board of the WFC support organization, The American Committee of WFC, and Larry and JoAnn are past volunteer directors at WFC (2011-2013).



In these past two years during the pandemic there has been such an outpouring of support for WFC by the many friends of WFC over the years.  As our motto “fostering peace, one friend at a time” and our name “World Friendship Center” makes obvious, friends and friendship are at the core of WFC’s purpose to spread peace to the world.



And now the concert from Ed Groff of Brethren Voices:

Our February edition of “Brethren Voices” featured the concert that Mike Stern and Bill Jolliff did in October for the World Friendship Center.  You’ll find it on: WWW.Youtube.com/Brethrenvoices 

 

Roger and Kathy Edmark
Volunteer Directors (2019-2022)
World Friendship Center

 

Chugoku Newspaper – WFC Booklet

Chugoku Newspaper Article 2022.01.12January 12th, 2022

Happy New Year to all.
Thank you very much for always supporting the World Friendship Center.
We hope 2022 will be a great year for all of us.

 

Immediately after the beginning of the new year, Hiroshima experienced a rapid spread of coronavirus infection and declared a semi-emergency coronavirus measures. This is quite unfortunate, after spending a somewhat peaceful period from the fall to the end of the year.

 

But good news has come to wipe out such a stifling mood.
An article was published on Chugoku Newspaper this morning, January 12th, 2022, titled,  
“WFC published a booklet: Remembering Barbara Reynold’s Thoughts.”
We are truly grateful for having WFC covered in the article like this.

 

Barbara Reynolds, an American woman, appealed for the “total abolition of nuclear weapons,” from an early-stage walking alongside the hibakusha and their struggles. Unfortunately, the fact is that it’s difficult to find a person who knows about her in Hiroshima, 77 years after the a-bombing.

 

Barbara, who always walked alongside the hibakusha said,

“I, too, am a hibakusha”

We, a generation who knows neither about the a-bomb or the restoration after the war, still continue to think about how Barbara Reynolds, an American, attained this state of mind in the a-bombed Hiroshima.

 

WFC BookletThe booklet introduced in the newspaper were made by WFC’s “Future Committee” in hope that it will help as many people as possible to learn about Barbara Reynolds’ thoughts and the World Friendship Center. We tried to make the contents understandable, with children visiting Hiroshima on school trips in mind. The booklet is available in Japanese and English and is given out for free.
If you wish to have a copy, please contact WFC.

 

Read the booklet “Barbara Reynolds and WFC” >

 

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

【English translation of the Chugoku Newspaper article 2022.01.12
 
The World Friendship Center (WFC, Chairperson Michiko Yamane), a Non-Profit Organization located in Nishi-ward, Hiroshima, created a booklet about the life of Barbara Reynolds (1915~1990), WFC’s founder and a peace activist. The booklets are available in Japanese and English.
 
Those affiliated with WFC say that their wish is for many people to know about Barbara, who walked alongside the hibakusha through their struggles, and to understand her heart when she said, “I, too, am a Hibakusha.”
 
She came to Hiroshima in 1951 with her husband who was dispatched to ABCC (Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, currently Radiation Effect Research Foundation). Her thoughts against nuclear weapons grew. The booklet introduces the brave actions she took such as the voyages by yacht to protest the nuclear testing done by the U.S. and U.S.S.R., and the “World Peace Pilgrimage,” in which she, along with hibakusha, conveyed the tragedy of the atomic bombing in various countries. It also notes that WFC, which was founded in 1965 with the late Dr. Tomin Harada, has a motto which is based on the belief that “building friendship by people meeting and talking to each other is what leads to peace.”
 
WFC has since been a place where people from around the world gather and listen to the testimonies of hibakusha who voluntarily share their experiences. However, due to COVID, the number of foreign tourists visiting Hiroshima has been drastically decreased. Mr. Katsumi Takahashi (72), a Board member, says, “we felt that this was the time to strengthen how we send out the message of peace, and that’s what we put into this booklet.”
 
“Barbara Reynolds and World Friendship Center” is printed in A-5size, 8pages, in Japanese and English, and is available free of charge. Please contact 082 (503) 3191.
 
 

Online Hibakusha Testimony
Center for Foreign Language Education, Shimane University

On December 17, we had an online Hibakusha Testimony (with English interpretation) for the students taking the Global Understanding course at The Center for Foreign Language Education, Shimane University.

Over 45 students and teachers joined online from Japan, Taiwan, Costa Rica, and the U.S.

Before hearing the testimony, WFC gave a short introduction on the “History of Hiroshima.”

Then, Mr. Goro Nishida, who experienced the atomic bombing at the age of three shared his testimony.

During the Q&A, unique questions from a student’s perspective were asked, also helping us to learn.

 

2021.12.17_Online Hibakusha Testimony with Shimane University 2021.12.17_Online Hibakusha Testimony with Shimane University

 

Providing opportunities for people from around the world to hear testimonies from hibakusha is an important mission of WFC.

We would like to thank Carmella Lieske who contacted us and worked with us to make this happen, and for all of the help from the faculty and staff at The Center for Foreign Language Education.