5,000 SGI-Europe Youth Gather in Milan, Italy
On March 16, 2008, some 5,000 SGI youth from 35 countries throughout Europe gathered for an SGI-Europe Youth General Meeting held at the Datch Forum in Milan, Italy, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of March 16, 1958, when second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda entrusted the mission of creating lasting global peace to the youth just weeks before he passed away.
Leading up to the meeting, SGI-Europe youth have conducted dialogues for peace with 140,000 friends throughout Europe, beginning January 2006. At the meeting, SGI-Italy Young Women's Leader Valentina Nannini shared how her life has positively changed through her daily practice of Nichiren Buddhism. Yasunori Hirayama, chair of the SGI-Europe Youth Summit, urged all the youth attendees to continue to hold dialogues for building a peaceful world. SGI-Italy Youth Leader Tamiko Kaneda and SGI-UK Young Men's Leader Manuel Fernandez formally introduced the SGI-Europe Youth Declaration. The declaration, unanimously adopted by the participants, is a three-point pledge to respect life and work against discrimination, to work for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and to become capable individuals who contribute to the happiness of others.
The gathering featured a cultural show with songs and dances by 250 members from six European countries. The Rainbow Chorus consisting of some 400 youth from 12 countries sang "Ode to Joy."
[Adapted from an article in the March 20, 2008 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]