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On January 31, SGI representatives joined the inauguration of the new Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development on the University for Peace (UPEACE) campus near San José, Costa Rica. A two-day conference entitled "Ethics for Sustainability: New Perspectives on Leadership, Decision Making and Education," co-organized by Earth Charter International and UPEACE was then held at the new building.
The events were attended by leaders in the sustainability field, including Earth Charter Commissioner and former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Ruud Lubbers, Minister of Culture and Youth of Costa Rica Manuel Obregón, ambassadors to Costa Rica from several countries, and representatives from UNESCO and UNDP.
The conference consisted of lectures and discussions on the integration of sustainability thinking in education and the connection between ethics and sustainability education.
SGI Executive Director for Peace Affairs Hirotsugu Terasaki spoke in a session titled "The UNDESD (UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development) and the new Global Programme of ESD: Bringing sustainability values and principles to education" held on February 1.
Drawing from eye-witness accounts of Soka Gakkai members' post-disaster efforts to rebuild their communities following the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, Mr. Terasaki highlighted the importance of creating more sustainable and resilient societies. He also introduced elements of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's 2014 peace proposal, in which he proposes that a new program of education for global citizenship be launched in collaboration with the UN and civil society as a follow-up to the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) and that this be incorporated in the UN's post-2015 agenda.
Other speakers included ECI Council Co-Chairs Kartikeya Sarabhai from the Centre for Environment Education in Ahmedabad, India, and Oscar Motomura, founder and CEO of Amana-Key from Brazil.
The event also featured the first showing in Costa Rica of "Seeds of Hope: Visions of sustainability, steps toward change," exhibition, jointly created by SGI and Earth Charter International.
On February 10, the Spanish language version of the Seeds of Hope exhibition opened at Jalisco High School in Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city, where it was shown until February 22.
[Adapted from a report from SGI Office of Public Information (SGI-OPI) and an article in the February 6, 2014, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of SGI-OPI and Earth Charter Initiative Website]
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