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Natural disasters have the power in mere moments, to destroy the livelihood and existence of human societies built over many generations. And yet, the sad memories engraved on our minds and hearts from such disasters also help us move forward. With the striking reality, we are able to further understand the threats of nature, while also realizing the preciousness of life and importance of communal living.
In many of those areas struck by disasters, various activities and initiatives are in place to remember and convey the stories of survival. Those have been undertaken through various mediums, transmitted through: oral story-telling, films, images, artifacts, monuments and or artistic works. Such activities substantiate and communicate local histories and experiences; deepening our understanding of the bonds between ourselves and the meaning of the co-existence with nature, and reminding us of the importance of life. Sharing such stories also increases our awareness of protecting the environment, while strengthening reconstruction efforts and generating a sense of solidarity. This preserving and disseminating of real live stories and lessons from the experiences of disasters, or "Live Lesson Telling", is an invaluable activity even for the larger society as a whole.
Unfortunately, the significance of such activities is not recognized enough as a means of education and reconstruction. On the one hand, there are many individuals who are committed to communicating the stories and lessons of disasters; but, on the other hand, networks or systems are still weak to unite these people and to facilitate mutual learning. Further research is also needed to examine the ways in which the stories and lessons are compiled and transmitted.
With this in mind, "The International Forum on Telling Live Lessons from Disasters" will be held on March 20th - 22nd, 2010 in Kobe, Japan, where powerful memories of the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake still endure. The objectives of the forum are to: strengthen exchange and mutual learning between those committed to Live Lesson Telling activities around the world; widely appeal for the importance and continuation of such initiatives; examine the significance and process of Live Lesson Telling; and promote the continual implementation of Live Lesson Telling activities on a global scale, with the aim of strengthening the prevention and mitigation of disasters in the future.