Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
History & Philosophy
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On February 6, Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, internationally renowned historian and scholar on the African-American experience, gave a lecture at the SGI-USA New York Culture Center as part of its Culture of Peace Distinguished Speaker Series. More than 350 people attended, and before he spoke, Dr. Muhammad joined a discussion session with representative SGI-USA youth.
Dr. Muhammad is the director of the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located in Harlem. As a national research library devoted to the preservation of materials related to the global African diaspora, the Schomburg Center sponsors programs and events that illuminate the richness of black history and culture.
In his talk, titled "The Peace Incentive: Compassionate Progressivism in Urban America," Dr. Muhammad introduced the concept of a "race oncologist" to thoroughly study the origins of racism and to battle against today's anti-intellectual culture. He stressed that as long as society values profit over people, humanity will not be able to advance.
He also emphasized the importance of being educated about history, having the willingness to see the truth of the past with honest and open understanding, and investing in organizations that are working to transform society. He encouraged his listeners to take action in the three areas of education, listening and philanthropy, to establish peace incentives and to embrace a modern compassionate progressivism for the betterment of all.
SGI-USA's Culture of Peace speaker series commenced in 2007, with lecturers focusing on one or more of the eight action areas defined by the 1999 United Nations Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace. The series aims to foster a culture that rejects violence and addresses the root causes of conflict through the power of dialogue.
[Adapted from the March 1, 2013, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photo courtesy of World Tribune]
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