SGI-Hawaii Celebrates SGI's 35th Anniversary
On January 17, 2010, SGI-USA Pacific Zone held a culture festival and general meeting at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Some 3,000 converged to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the SGI and the 50th anniversary of SGI-USA's founding.
In a message, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda expressed his appreciation to the Hawaiian members and especially praised the pioneers for their dedicated efforts in "building a truly joyful organization here in Hawaii." He encouraged the participants to make a new departure toward the next 35 and 50 years.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Betty Williams also sent a congratulatory message. Ms. Williams spoke about the important role SGI plays in helping to facilitate the nonviolence movement in the world.
SGI Women's Leader Kayoko Asano and SGI General Director Yoshitaka Oba joined in the celebration. Mrs. Asano asked everyone to continue with their dedicated efforts that are advancing the world peace movement. Mr. Oba urged those attending always to return to the prime point, which is determined prayer, especially at those times when one feels deadlocked. He emphasized the importance of having courage and never giving up.
The celebration included youth dance and song performances. The festival commenced with a sneak preview of "iChoose," a short musical presented by the International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP) in partnership with Victory Over Violence (VOV), a youth-led initiative. The 20-minute production—aimed at educating and empowering youth to overcome violence in their daily lives through the power of music and dance—centers on nine students who confront serious struggles in their everyday life, including peer pressure, self-doubt, depression and physical abuse. The production will tour ten Hawaii high schools during January and February. Along with the dramatic production the three-part program includes the VOV exhibition and discussion sessions following the performance.
[Adapted from an article in the January 29, 2010, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]