News | Wednesday, 3rd July 2019
University receives rare symbolic Japanese 'peace tree' during dedication ceremony
Gingko sapling - named Heiwa - one of 14 grown from seeds gifted to city
One of only 14 special saplings descended from iconic trees that survived the atomic bomb detonation in Hiroshima during the Second World War has been gifted to the University in a commemorative ceremony.
The 14 gingko seeds were cultivated after being given to Manchester as a symbol of peace as part of the international Mayors For Peace programme in 2014. Manchester was the first UK city to be bestowed this honour.
The seeds were harvested from second generation trees grown from cuttings taken from the original six gingko trees that withstood the devastating atomic bomb detonation over the Japanese city in 1945. The emblematic trees, which survived despite being only 1.8km from the epicentre of the blast, have became known as Hibakujumoku, the 'atomic bomb survivor trees'.
Manchester Met as flagship Project G gingko tree recipient
Manchester's immature gingko trees are now being distributed to new homes across the city as part of a Mayors For Peace and Manchester City Council peace education initiative called Project G - and Manchester Metropolitan University is the flagship recipient, and the only university.
A dedication ceremony for the first sapling was held at the University's John Dalton Gardens on Monday, hosted by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Abid Latif Chohan, who symbolically spinkled soil around the gingko with a trowel. Dr David Lambrick, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Science and Engineering welcomed guests to the University with a short speech.
Dr Becky Alexis-Martin, Lecturer in Geography and Environmental Management, who organised the event, explained the rich history of the gingkoes in her book Disarming Doomsday: The Human Impact of Nuclear Weapons since Hiroshima.
She said: “Mayors for Peace supports elimination of nuclear weapons, and was founded in Hiroshima by Mayor Takeshi Araki in 1982.
"Manchester is the Vice-President City, and works with Hiroshima to develop peace tours and exchange programmes, and contributes to United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITR) disarmament policy.
"In 2011, the Director of Hiroshima UNITR, organised for Hibakujumoku gingko seeds to be collected, and shared with places committed to social and ecological peace worldwide.
“Manchester received Hibakujumoku gingko seeds in 2014, and the city’s seedlings successfully sprouted at Hulme Community Garden Centre."
I hope in the future this tree will be a source of inspiration to generations of Mancunians as we all strive to live as part of a peaceful global community
Tree named Heiwa - Japanese for 'peace'
Manchester Metropolitan's potted gingko was named Heiwa - meaning 'peace' in Japanese - following an internal naming competition won by Craig Young, Professor of Human Geography.
Of the other 13 gingko saplings, one has been gifted to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and another six have gone to schools in the city that participated in Project G. All have been given symbolic names.
Children from three of the recipient schools attended the dedication ceremony to collect their dedication plaques from the Lord Mayor of Manchester.
At least two of the remaining half a dozen trees will be planted in the new replacement Manchester Peace Garden when it is built as part of a development in Lincoln Square in the city centre near Manchester Town Hall.
Dr Lambrick spoke of the importance of the gingko to the University and its symbolism at Monday's ceremony.
He said: "This tiny tree is of significance to peace internationally, and Manchester is the only city in the UK to have received these trees.
"It is an honour be able to dedicate our University tree and I would encourage you to visit Heiwa in the John Dalton Gardens.”
Common goal of peace
The Lord Mayor of Manchester said: “The gingko tree is deeply significant in the story of communities across the world working towards the common goal of peace.
“It is a great honour that Manchester is a home for one of these trees and we are grateful to the city and civic officials of the city of Hiroshima for allowing us to take part in Project G.
“I hope in the future this tree will be a source of inspiration to generations of Mancunians as we all strive to live as part of a peaceful global community.”