Louis Venturelli and Giana Gleeson prepared themselves for an eye-opening experience when they traveled to Japan. Even then, they got a lot more than they bargained for.
Joining David Ives, executive director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, as representatives at the 11th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, the two seniors rubbed shoulders with the Dalai Lama and collaborated with Japanese students to present a youth declaration of peace.
The summit brought Nobel Laureates from around the globe to Hiroshima, Japan, where they created a statement of nuclear non-proliferation 65 years after the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.
The highlight moment for Venturelli and Gleeson was, after getting close with five Japanese students, working to create a youth statement of their own to complement the summit’s final declaration on nuclear non-proliferation.
The two then presented the statement – in front of such Nobel Laureates as the Dalai Lama.
“It was the first time I’ve ever been on that large of a stage–a global stage,” Venturelli said.
The student collaboration was the first of its kind at the annual summit, and Ives said it would become a yearly occurrence.
“These guys may be on the cutting edge of working with Nobel Peace Prize Laureates,” Ives said. “Nobody else is going to have that access other than Quinnipiac.”
Ives and company represented Schweitzer, a 1952 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. They were joined by alumni Matt Andrew, Farrell Denby and Erin Peck, director of programs for the institute.
“I was on a panel with the Dalai Lama,” Ives said. “I kept looking over there, pinching myself: ‘Am I really up on a panel with the Dalai Lama?’”
Gleeson said that following Ives’ speech, the Dalai Lama clasped his hands and nodded.
“He didn’t do that for everyone else,” Gleeson said. “So he must have been impacted by what (Ives) said.”
The Quinnipiac delegation spent a full week in Japan, from Nov. 8-15, visiting historical sights, shrines, and even taking a brief trip to Kyoto.
“Seeing how peaceful the Japanese are towards a country that did such a devastating thing to them, it’s amazing,” said Venturelli, part of the only delegation of American students. “They were more focused on making sure it never happened again, anywhere.”
The Legacy of Hiroshima
Photo credit: Louis Venturelli