At the IPS forumAt the IPS forum

On November 18, in co-operation with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN and SGI, Inter Press Service (IPS) organized a Forum on Global Citizenship at the Sri Lankan Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

IPS Director General Ramesh Jaura welcomed participants to the forum, which was chaired by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN. The forum focused on two themes—global citizenship as a pathway to the culture of peace and the integration of global citizenship in international relations.

In his opening speech, Ambassador Chowdhury said that spiritual elements such as our interconnectedness, and our values and commitments as human beings are indispensable to global citizenship. In this context, he referred to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s June 1996 speech titled “Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship.” In this speech, delivered at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, Mr. Ikeda highlighted wisdom, courage and compassion as the key components of global citizenship.

Mr. SakuraiMr. Hiro Sakurai, Director of the SGI UN Liaison Office in New York (center)

Ambassador Dr Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, said that the concept of global citizenship has long provided humanity with a challenge, though it has never been fully defined. He described the UN as providing an important forum for humanity to address common issues together from a global perspective.

Erol Avdovic, vice president of the United Nations Correspondents Association, described global citizenship as “a fight against limbo.” “It is the fight against misconception and against ignoring—or even worse, manipulating—simple facts,” he said. related article Knowledge of Buddhism Lecture Series Begins in France Knowledge of Buddhism Lecture Series Begins in France On March 5, the Soka Cultural Association in France (ACSF) held the first lecture in a three-year series titled "Knowledge of Buddhism." The lecture was held at the Soka center in Paris and attended by some 140 people. Guest speaker Dominique Trotignon, director of the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Paris and president of the Theravada Buddhist Association Vivekārāma, focused on Buddhism in its Indian context.

From UNAOC, Nihal Saad delivered a speech on behalf of High Representative Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, in which he stated: “Educational policies should promote peace, mutual respect and environmental care. It does not suffice for education to produce individuals who can read, write and count. Education should and must bring shared values to life.”

In his comments, Hiro Sakurai, Director of the SGI UN Liaison Office in New York, traced SGI’s commitment to global citizenship to Soka Gakkai first president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi’s pedagogy that aims to foster people who can transcend local and national boundaries and recognize the interconnectedness of life—“true global citizens.”

[Adapted from reports from Inter Press Service (IPS) and SGI Office of Public Information (SGI-OPI) and an article in the November 23, 2014, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of IPS]

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