This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II as well as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Various memorial events have been held all over the world under the common theme of “No More War.” As a part of its long-standing cultural lecture series, the Min-On Music Museum sponsored a special cultural lecture and symposium entitled “The Power of Music for Connecting Hearts of All Mankind” on the solemn occasion of the 70th anniversary in Nagasaki on July 20. Dr. Agnes Chan, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Japan, and Dr. Olivier Urbain, senior research fellow of the Min-On Music Research Institute and director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, delivered keynote speeches to a house full of participants at the Nagasaki Brick Hall.
Dr. Chan, originally from Hong Kong, is a renowned Asian pop singer and popular Japanese television personality, who also holds a doctorate of education from Stanford University. She started doing volunteer work on children’s rights issues when she was in junior high school in Hong Kong. Since she began working with the Japan Committee for UNICEF in 1998, she has made a number of trips to African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries to advocate UNICEF-sponsored programs for children and women.
During her lecture in Nagasaki, Dr. Chan shared the experience of visiting her mother’s hometown in Guizhou province of China, where she met with local children. She talked about her memories of the children cheerfully welcoming her by singing one of her songs, and how this moving experience in China elevated her confidence in the power of music to connect the hearts of people. Dr. Chan remarked that this experience with children became a focal point of her conviction to continue singing songs to expand heart-to-heart connections for a peaceful world. She expressed her wishes for the people of Nagasaki to communicate their experiences of war, the bombings and their fervent desire for future generations to take the lead in working for world peace. Her lecture was followed by Dr. Urbain’s keynote lecture, and then the local women’s choir Hahazakura (mother cherry trees in Japanese) Chorus sang a song written by the Min-On Founder entitled “Peaceful World,” together with pop singer Agnes Chan. The cultural lecture successfully concluded with a question-and-answer session and an enthusiastic discussion on the subject of peace building.