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Buddhism

Back to listJun 25, 2008

Newly Completed SGI-USA Washington, D.C., Culture Center Opened on "Embassy Row"

080625x_usa_dc_open1.jpg Ribbon-cutting for the SGI-USA Washington, D.C. Culture Center

On June 25, 2008 the newly constructed SGI-USA Washington, D.C., Culture Center was officially opened. Designed by noted architect Bill Hellmuth, the 9,000 square foot center is located alongside embassies from throughout the world on Massachusetts Avenue, also known as "Embassy Row," in the heart of the U.S. capital. Officiating at the ceremonial ribbon cutting were SGI-USA pioneer member Teruko Hicks, U.S. Representative Henry "Hank" Johnson, SGI-USA Mid-Atlantic Zone Leader Kathy Geisler, SGI-USA youth representatives James Jeter III and Sakura DeTorres, SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda and SGI-USA General Director Danny Nagashima.

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said in written congratulations, "We welcome this new citadel of peace to our nation's capital with the hope and expectation that it will support and promote your nonviolent philosophy of fulfilled human potential and security for all." Congratulatory messages were also received from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Washington, D.C., mayor's office.

080625x_usa_dc_open2.jpg Hiromasa Ikeda addresses the audience

In his keynote speech, Hiromasa Ikeda remarked that the economic and political events that take place in Washington, D.C., are of great interest and import to the entire world and because the nation's capital garners worldwide attention, activities carried out at this new culture center will hold profound significance. Mr. Ikeda encouraged the members to emulate the same spirit as Nichiren when he submitted one of his major treatises to the Kamakura government, then the capital and political center of Japan. That writing was based upon his deep compassion and altruistic desire that the people be freed from wars and conflicts and other roadblocks to happiness, which have their roots in the human heart and mind. "This Washington D.C. Culture Center will definitely be an important place to put into practice the spirit of Nichiren's treatise," Mr. Ikeda continued, adding that understanding how to do so could be taken from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's message for the opening: "As we pray for the prosperity and peace of our communities we simultaneously secure our individual happiness. I hope that each of you in Washington, D.C., will be a person who prays and takes action for the construction of a haven where fortune and virtue overflow, with the goal of realizing everyone's happiness and victory."

Also in his message, read by Mr. Johnson, the SGI President stated, "The more the times are filled with deluded views the more important it becomes for you to construct solidarity with the people based on unshakable ties of friendship and trust within your community."

Attending the opening were dignitaries, members from throughout SGI-USA's Mid-Atlantic Zone, and local Soka University of America alumni and students.

080625x_usa_dc_open3.jpg The Washington, D.C., Culture Center is located among embassies from throughout the world.

[Adapted from articles in the July 11, 2008 issue of The World Tribune, SGI-USA; Photos courtesy of Philip Rosenberg]