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On February 24, SGI-Chile held a culture festival at the Caupolicán Theater in Santiago, where 2,000 members from throughout the nation gathered to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their first national meeting (on February 23, 1993), which coincided with SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's first visit to Chile.
The first district in Chile was formed in 1974, just one year after a coup-d'état had been followed by the imposition of martial law and restriction of freedom of assembly. SGI members in Chile continued to support one another in their Buddhist practice despite being unable to convene regularly. It was only after 1990, after the nation's transition to democracy, that conditions were viable for members to practice freely.
The festival featured performances by various groups including folk dances and skits and musical performances by SGI-Chile's orchestra and fife-and-drum corps. Mr. Ikeda sent a congratulatory message in which he praised the development shown by SGI-Chile and shared his hopes for members to continue building bonds of trust and championing the cause of justice in society.
related article SGI New Year's Prayer Meetings Held Worldwide From England to Bolivia, Taiwan to Burkina Faso, SGI members throughout the world celebrated the New Year with prayer meetings in their local areas on January 1 and 2. On February 24, SGI-Paraguay held a festival at the SGI-Paraguay Culture Center in Asunción commemorating the 20th anniversary of Mr. Ikeda's first visit to the country, and on the following day, a general meeting was held. The festival, attended by some 700 people, included an array of performances by SGI-Paraguay's marching band, its taiko drum group and chorus, as well as a traditional folk dance performed by young women. At the general meeting, Hiroshi Kataoka was newly appointed as SGI-Paraguay General Director.
Commemorative meetings were also held in Bolivia and Colombia.
[Adapted from articles in the February 26, March 1, 5 and 7, 2013, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]
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