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SGI-Canada members in British Columbia took part in two events funded by the provincial government in support of the UN's World Interfaith Harmony Week marked during the first week of February.
The first event, a dialogue on gendered and interfaith relationships, was held at Ramada Plaza Abbotsford Hotel and Conference Center in Abbotsford on January 31. Six SGI-Canada members joined the discussion which focused on how people of various faiths view gender roles in society and how each faith advocates respect for cultural diversity. Attended by some 150 people representing a wide range of faiths, the event was one of a series of events organized by Abbotsford Community Services and Bridges of Faith, a local interfaith planning committee.
On February 1, some ten SGI-Canada members were invited to take part in a day-long interfaith event at the City Centre Library in Surrey, Metro Vancouver. They introduced the primary practice of Nichiren Buddhism, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and displayed materials introducing the SGI. The event brought together more than 20 faith communities to share information related to their religious beliefs and practices and was organized by the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society together with the Surrey Interfaith Council, Surrey Libraries and the Global Clergy Association of Canada.
On January 31, at the City of Winnipeg Public Library in Manitoba Province, SGI-Canada representative Glen Brouwer was a panelist at an interfaith discussion titled "Finding Peace When Beliefs Collide." Other panelists at this World Interfaith Harmony Week event included the Reverend Dr. James Christie, professor of Whole World Ecumenism and Dialogue Theology at the University of Winnipeg and director of the university's Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy, and Sherrie Steiner, associate professor of Sociology at Booth University College. The event, which examined questions such as whether there are common beliefs in all religions and what kinds of activities help build tolerance for religious diversity, was organized by the library and the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties. related article Club of Rome and SGI-Spain Sponsor Interfaith Symposium on Sustainability On December 9, the Spanish Chapter of the Club of Rome (CECoR) and SGI-Spain sponsored an interfaith symposium titled "Beliefs, Sustainability and Human Development" at the CaixaForum Madrid in Spain.
[Adapted from articles in the February and March 2014 issues of the SGI-Canada Online News; photos courtesy of SGI-Canada and the Abbotsford News]
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by William Aiken, director of public affairs, SGI-USA
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by Olivier Urbain, director, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research
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Strengthening the Voice of Women at the UN
by Ivy Gabbert, SGI Office for UN Affairs, New York