Youth Festivals Held in Bolivia and Peru
In November, both SGI-Bolivia and SGI-Peru commemorated the 50th anniversaries of the founding of the first SGI chapter in their respective countries.
On November 17, SGI-Bolivia held a youth culture festival in Santa Cruz, the theme of which was promoting humanism and peace. Some 2,500 people attended, including 500 SGI-Bolivia youth from throughout the country. Performances included a variety of folk dances.
Guests in attendance were former Rector of the Private University of Santa Cruz de la Sierra José Antonio de Chazal Palomo; President Gonzalo Taboada López of the National Academy of Science of Bolivia (ANCB); ANCB Former President Antonio Saavedra Muñoz; and Moisés Fanor Salces Lozano and Rosario Leonor Torrico de Arzabe, representatives from the Bolivian Lower House.
On the occasion of the festival, the Bolivian Lower House representatives presented SGI-Bolivia with an award for SGI President Ikeda and Mrs. Ikeda's contributions to society based on the Buddhist philosophy of peace and the promotion of mutual understanding among different ethnic groups.
In his message, Mr. Ikeda commended the sincere efforts of the members of SGI-Bolivia to contribute to the betterment of society over the past 50 years and emphasized that one-to-one dialogue is crucial in creating lasting peace, happiness and unity for all humanity.
Building networks of trust in their communities, SGI-Bolivia members have held various educational seminars and exhibitions including "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" which was shown in 2000 and viewed by 110,000 people.
In November, SGI-Peru held youth festivals in 40 venues throughout the country attended by a total of 7,300 youth members. The theme focused on youth as the leading protagonists in building a culture of peace. The festivals included a variety of dance and music performances.
One participant commented that the festival gave him a chance to reflect on the role of youth in society and helped him realize that in order to rid the world of violence, he must first undergo an inner transformation.
[Adapted from an article in the November 23 and December 9, 2012, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun and SGI-Peru]