The former Mayor of Hiroshima, Tadatoshi Akiba, who recently was named Chairman of the Middle Powers Initiative, will take up his duties in October 2012.  His first major task is to plan the next meeting of the MPI Framework Forum, which will be held in Berlin in early 2013.

As President of Mayors for Peace, Professor Akiba developed a network of 5,300 mayors in 153 countries and regions who united in calling for negotiations to start on a nuclear weapons convention. He was Mayor of Hiroshima from 1999 until 2011.  He started his professional career as a mathematics professor in New York before being elected to the Japanese House of Representatives in 1990. David Krieger, Chairman of MPI’s Executive Committee, hailed Akiba, one of the world’s foremost campaigners for the abolition of nuclear weapons, as “an internationally respected leader for his stewardship of Mayors for Peace.”

Founded in 1998 by eight prominent nuclear disarmament organizations, MPI works with influential middle power countries to bridge the political divide between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states, and to advance practical proposals for nuclear disarmament. Akiba will direct MPI’s work, which consists of delegations to capitals, publishing briefs on nuclear disarmament, and organizing and facilitating informal government consultations.

Since 2005, MPI has brought governments together in informal Article VI Forum consultations to forge an agreed pathway to a nuclear weapons-free world, based on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Article VI obligation to achieve nuclear disarmament. MPI has started a new series of consultations, called the “Framework Forum,” for interested governments to start preparatory work leading to negotiations for a global ban on nuclear weapons.

In addition to being a leading international voice for peace and nuclear disarmament, Akiba championed environmental protection and government transparency.  For his dedication to a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world, he has received many honors, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award (often considered Asia’s Nobel Prize), the Sean MacBride Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau, and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Distinguished Peace Leadership Award.

Senator Douglas Roche, founding Chairman of MPI, welcomed the appointment of Akiba: “With his deep knowledge of nuclear disarmament issues, unending commitment to the abolition of nuclear weapons, immense personal prestige, and outstanding international reputation, Tad Akiba will lift up MPI and make it an even more effective instrument helping to produce a nuclear weapons-free world.”

MPI’s co-sponsors include: Albert Schweitzer Institute, Global Security Institute, International Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation, International Peace Bureau, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.