SGI-USA Language Groups Help Build Global Network
For those first attending an SGI-USA activity, the wide diversity of its membership, a hallmark of SGI-USA, is immediately apparent. SGI-USA members represent cultures and speak languages from around the globe. Sixty-four representatives representing 13 languages--Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, French, Thai, Laotian, Cambodian, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Persian and Armenian--gathered on December 2, 2006 from throughout the USA at the SGI Plaza in Santa Monica, California, for the fourth annual conference of the SGI-USA National Language Bureau (NLB). In a congratulatory message for the event, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda described the participants as a "spiritual rainbow of culture and friendship" throughout America.
The NLB was formed in 2003 to help coordinate and provide support for the language-specific groups around the country. Its purpose is to help non-native English speaking SGI members study, understand and discuss the philosophy and practice of Nichiren Buddhism in their own languages. Through such support, individuals have been able to more confidently engage in their local discussion meetings and other SGI-USA activities.
SGI-USA NLB Director Ted Morino expressed his appreciation for everyone's efforts during 2006. SGI-USA General Director Daniel Nagashima reiterated that the NLB's activities are important and said the group represents the world in miniature. With roots in other countries, each person can serve as a bridge between cultures, thereby building a global network of individuals dedicated to lasting peace. Cliff Sawyer, SGI-USA vice general director, encouraged the language group members to participate in their local SGI-USA activities where they can further develop their Buddhist practice and contribute to American society.
Participants reported on the progress the language groups had made during 2006 and discussed their goals for 2007. It was reported that Esperanza, the SGI-USA's Spanish language study magazine first published in 2006 will soon be available to SGI members throughout Latin America.
[Adapted from an article in the December 22, 2006 issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA]