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On June 8, at its culture center in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, SGI-Spain sponsored its first conference on education, commemorating the 142nd anniversary of the birth, on June 6, 1871, of educator and first Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi.
The day-long event titled "Creative education for times of crisis: Towards a society in service of education" was open to the public and included activity reports by representatives of SGI-Spain's educators' group, workshops, and a lecture by Juan José Moreno, professor of the theory and history of education at the University of La Laguna (ULL) in the Canary Islands.
The conference brought together educators from across the country, including Catalonia, the Basque Country, the Canary Islands, Andalucia, Valencia and Madrid, as well as representatives from the local city council and secondary schools.
In his keynote address, Professor Moreno spoke about Makiguchi's educational philosophy of value-creation (Jpn. soka) and its relevance in modern society, especially as a guide for achieving self-actualization and fostering the development of moral character in students. To Makiguchi, the ultimate aim of education was the happiness of the learner, a principle which, Professor Moreno stressed, forms the basis of Soka education. He also shared his conviction that a creative approach to education and a society that serves education is what these current "times of crisis" demand.
Following the lecture, representatives of SGI-Spain's educators' group shared reports of their efforts as teachers in non-formal and formal educational settings, as well as in the fields of human rights, peace and environment education.
In one such report, Ms. Adoración Fernandez, an elementary school principal in the suburbs of Barcelona, spoke of the challenges of creating a friendlier school atmosphere. By holding faculty meetings to provide a forum for sharing teaching methods, struggles in the classroom and visions for the school, teachers were able to build trust with one another, which in turn led to a more harmonious school environment.
[Adapted from articles in the July 2013 issue of Civilización global, SGI-Spain, and the June 25, 2013, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]
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