SGI-Philippines Hosts Youth Friendship Culture Festival
On July 17, SGI-Philippines held a Youth Friendship Culture Festival at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City in the greater Manila area, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of José Rizal (1861-96) and the 20th anniversary of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's first visit to the Philippines. More than 12,000 people participated in the festival. In attendance were: Fidel V. Ramos, former president of the Republic of the Philippines; Dr. José V. Abueva, former president of University of the Philippines and founder and current president of Kalayaan College; Sir Rogelio M. Quiambao, former Supreme Commander of the Order of the Knights of Rizal; and representatives from several universities and organizations in the Philippines.
SGI President Ikeda sent a message in which he congratulated those who, through their dedication and hard work, made the festival possible. He encouraged young people to be citizens who contribute to the prosperity of society and "set a model of action for all to follow." A total of about 1,000 youth members participated in performances of dances from all around the world including Latin America, the Middle East, China and Japan, as well as musical, choral, folk dance and gymnastic performances.
In his speech, former President Ramos thanked SGI for its activities in support of education and environmental protection in the Philippines. Dr. Abueva, who is on the governing council of the Center for Global Nonkilling, drew parallels between the center's work in promoting peace and international understanding and the SGI's activities to realize a shared vision of peace.
At the end of the festival, on behalf of SGI President Ikeda, a representative of SGI was presented with the Key to the City of Manila by Manila Historical and Heritage Commission Vice Chairperson Gemma Cruz-Araneta, who is also Executive Assistant to the Mayor of the City of Manila.
[Adapted from an article in the July 28, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of SGI-Philippines]