SGI Latin American Youth Commemorate Anniversaries
During July 2007, SGI youth in Latin American countries celebrated the 56th anniversaries of the Soka Gakkai young men's division (YMD) and young women's division (YWD), which fall on July 11 and July 19, respectively.
In the Dominican Republic, 500 young women, half of whom were guests, commemorated the YWD anniversary at the SGI-Dominican Republic Culture Center on July 22. Following a skit and a fife-and-drum corps performance, YWD Leader Noriko Tamate encouraged everyone to support one another and strive based on the humanistic philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, to lead fulfilling and value-creative lives.
SGI-Bolivia young men met at the SGI-Bolivia Culture Center in Santa Cruz on July 22. The meeting began with greetings from Vice YMD Leader Marcelo Oroza Montellano and a performance by the brass band. Following that, Luis Pinto shared his struggle of dealing with his mother's initial opposition to his Buddhist practice. Seeing a dramatic change in his attitude toward life, today, Luis's mother supports his activities in SGI-Bolivia and his practice of Nichiren Buddhism. Presently, Luis is a university student working toward a double major. In a keynote lecture, soccer commentator and former professional soccer player Victor Hugo Antelo talked about the struggles of youth and the importance of forging one's character while young, sharing his personal experiences and excerpts from Discussions on Youth, a book of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's advice to young people.
SGI-Uruguay youth gathered at the SGI-Uruguay Culture Center in Montevideo on July 29. Mario De Alcántara was appointed national YMD leader and shared his personal goals and resolution toward 2010. In Mexico, 500 youth members met in various parts of the country from July 8 through 22 to study and discuss the theme, "In Pursuit of Our Highest Potential."
In Venezuela, the young men held their first national leaders training session at the SGI-Venezuela Culture Center in Caracas on July 7 and 8. Participants shared activity reports and studied Nichiren's writings together, highlighted by a lecture given by Study Department Leader Gustavo Cabrera. The young women met with SGI-Venezuela General Director Lydia Salas on July 20.
SGI-Chile young men and women held general meetings in eight cities throughout July. At a YMD gathering on July 15 at the SGI-Chile Culture Center, YMD Leader Omar Castillo stressed the urgent need for young people to stand up to make a difference and contribute to society. At a meeting of young women held on July 22 at the same center, attendees enjoyed poetry readings and musical performances. At the close of the meeting, YWD leader Sonia Esparza lauded the YWD members for striving to develop their own lives while dedicating themselves to the growth and happiness of their fellow young women.
[Adapted from an article in the August 21, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]