Local Band El Cuarteto Helps SGI-Venezuela Celebrate SGI's 30th Anniversary
On January 28, SGI-Venezuela celebrated SGI's 30th anniversary with a special concert by El Cuarteto, a locally renowned traditional Venezuelan band at Aula Magna Hall on the Central University campus, Caracas. Over 1,200 people gathered for the concert, including government officials, academics and UN regional officers. Dr. Hector Navarro, professor of Central University and former Minister of Education, commended SGI's efforts to plant seeds of peace through education, stating that the past 30 years represent just the beginning. He was referring to SGI-Venezuela's longstanding efforts to promote education in the country, such as the organization's recent collaboration with the José Felix Ribas Institute and regional offices of the UNHCR and UNICEF, on the Puentes de Paz (Bridge of Peace) education program that helps refugee children integrate into society.
Following the concert, the Municipal Government of Caracas, Venezuela's capital city, conferred the Guaraira Repano Order of the First Class on SGI President Ikeda in recognition of SGI's peace, education and humanitarian efforts over the past three decades. The Ministry of Higher Education endorsed the award, which is the highest honor that Caracas can bestow on a foreign national.
Besides education, SGI and SGI-Venezuela, a constituent SGI organization, have also contributed to environmental protection, humanitarian aid, intercultural and interfaith understanding, and youth and Cultural Activitiess. SGI-Venezuela has supported government-sponsored tree planting programs and worked together with other NGOs and relief agencies in response to natural disasters such as floods. It has sponsored exhibitions such as the SGI "World Boys and Girls Art Exhibition" and "Symbiosis and Hope: The Amazon--Its Environment and Development," which have toured various Venezuelan cities over the years. Moreover, the SGI-affiliated Min-On Concert Association has introduced Venezuelan folk music and dance to Japanese audiences through sponsorship of Japan tours of various Venezuelan performing arts groups.