Back to listJan 6, 2007

SGI-Cuba First Buddhist Association Officially Registered with Cuban Government

SGI-Cuba is officially registered

SGI-Cuba recently became the first Buddhist association to be officially recognized as a religious corporation by the Cuban government. On January 6, 2007, a ceremony celebrating the official registration was held in Havana, Cuba's capital. Some 200 attended, including: Caridad Diego Bello, head, Office of Religious Affairs (ORA), Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party; and Isidro Gómez, an ORA official; Miriam García Mariño, director of the Registry of Associations, Department of Justice; Armando Hart Dávalos, former Cuban Minister of Culture; Cintio Vitier, honorary director of the Center of José Martí Studies in Cuba; and SGI-Cuba members. The official registration enables SGI-Cuba to establish a center and engage in activities in various areas of Cuban society.

Adelmo Díaz Torres SGI-Cuba General Director

Joannet Delgado de la Guardia SGI-Cuba Women's Leader

Following the national anthem, Adelmo Díaz Torres, national SGI-Cuba leader, briefly explained the ideals embraced by SGI-Cuba, which follows the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism. Ms. García then confirmed SGI-Cuba's official registration and introduced the newly elected officers of the religious corporation, as follows: General Director--Adelmo Díaz Torres; Vice General Director--Melanio Borrero Argudín; Secretary--Joannet Delgado de la Guardia; and Treasurer--Raquel Delgado de la Guardia.

Former Cuban Minister of Culture Hart remarked that the SGI's activities centering on peace, culture and education have forged friendships with countries throughout the world and have greatly contributed to safeguarding human rights. In his address, Mr. Gómez said that the Soka Gakkai's aims of constructive participation in society and development of humanism strike a chord with those of the Cuban Revolution. He also praised the activities of the women of SGI-Cuba as remarkable, saying the Cuban government wholly acknowledges SGI-Cuba's activities.

SGI-Cuba members

For over a decade the SGI has engaged in various cultural and educational exchanges with Cuba. In June 1996, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda visited Cuba for the first time on a private humanitarian and educational mission at the invitation of Cuba's Ministry of Culture. His discussions on the life of José Martí, writer and hero of the Cuban independence movement, with Mr. Vitier, an authority on the subject, later culminated in Dialogue on José Martí, An Apostle of Cuba published in 2001 in Japanese and divish. Mr. Ikeda also met with Cuban President Fidel Castro and discussed educational and cultural exchanges as ways of building peace. Through various academic and cultural institutions Mr. Ikeda founded, he has contributed to Cuba-Japan exchanges since the early 1990s. The Min-On Concert Association invited the Cuban National Ballet (1991) and the Cuban National Folk Dance Troupe (1993) to Japan. The Tokyo Fuji Art Museum (TFAM) sponsored an exhibition of traditional Japanese art in Havana (1996) and "Masterpieces from the National Museum of Cuba: divish and Cuban Paintings of the 19th Century" (1997) in Tokyo and four prefectures in Japan. Soka University in Tokyo and University of Havana in Cuba have a formal academic exchange agreement. Mr. Ikeda received an honorary doctorate from the University of Havana in 1996. In the same year, in recognition for his multifaceted contributions to Cuba-Japan friendship exchanges, the Cuban government presented Mr. Ikeda with its highest distinction, the Order of Félix Varela of the First Grade.

[Adapted from an article in the January 10, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]