Commencement Week: Join Events with Honorary Degree Recipient Kondo May 7, 13

| April 24, 2014
Koko Tanimoto Kondo, atomic bomb survivor and internationally recognized peace advocate

Koko Tanimoto Kondo, atomic bomb survivor and internationally recognized peace advocate

As announced in February, Koko Tanimoto Kondo, one of the youngest Hiroshima A-bomb survivors and an internationally recognized peace advocate, will be Webster University’s 2014 Commencement speaker and receive an honorary doctorate from the University.

Webster University professor Roy Tamashiro nominated Kondo as commencement speaker, noting her life message of peace and reconciliation that provides “a powerful and inspiring message about bringing healing to one’s self and to the world.”

In addition to the May 10 Commencement ceremony, several University events are scheduled with Kondo during her visit to St. Louis.

May 7: Contemporary Conversations for a Connected World, An evening with Koko Tanimoto Kondo

President Beth Stroble invites members of the Webster community to a talk from Kondo on Wednesday, May 7, 5:30 p.m. in the East Academic Building, room 253. RSVP to Nancy Higgins at higgins@webster.edu.

May 13: “This Is Your Life, Koko Tanimoto Kondo” presented by Roy Tamashiro

President Stroble and Provost Julian Schuster invite members of the Webster community to join Kondo for “This Is Your Life, Koko Tanimoto Kondo: Celebrating personal and societal transformative learning,” presented by School of Education professor Roy Tamashiro.

The event will be held Tuesday, May 13, beginning with a 5:30 p.m. reception before the presentation at 6:15 p.m. in the East Academic Building, and also streamed live at webster.edu/live. RSVP to Nancy Higgins at higgins@webster.edu.

About Koko Kondo

Kondo was born Koko Tanimoto in November 1944. At the moment the bomb was dropped at 8:16 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945, she was an 8-month-old infant at home less than one mile away from the hypocenter of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, the first of two atomic bombs used during World War II. The second bomb was detonated Aug. 9, 1945, on Nagasaki, Japan.  While she was too young to remember the bombing, she grew up amid the destruction of her town as well as seeing the long-lasting effects that radiation poisoning had on its citizens.

As a child, Kondo was heavily influenced by her father, the Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto. He was instrumental in helping re-build the city and promoting a message of peace. He created the Hiroshima Maiden Project, which assisted young girls who had become disfigured from the attack, and he worked with the Moral Adoption Project, which raised funds in the U.S. to build orphanages in Hiroshima for war orphans.

On May 11, 1955, Kondo and her father appeared on the popular television program “This is Your Life,” where they met Capt. Robert A. Lewis, the co-pilot of Enola Gay, the B-29 aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Kondo graduated from American University in 1969. Since then, she has devoted her life to sharing the stories of those who were affected by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, people known as “hibakusha,” which roughly translates to “explosion-affected people.” She has traveled the world, including visiting Russia and Iraq, discussing her experiences growing up in Hiroshima. During an annual study tour on the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, she shares her stories and inspires students with her energy and compassion. She has touched the lives of Webster University students and faculty on this study tour, and was a guest speaker to a Webster class that traveled to Japan in 2009.

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Category: St. Louis Campus News, Webster Events

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