Back to listJan 18, 2009

SGI-Europe Holds Annual Peace Summit at SGI-European Center in France

090129eu_summit.jpg SGI-Europe holds annual Peace Summit at the SGI European Center in Trets, France

From January 16-18, 2009, SGI-Europe representatives gathered for their annual Peace Summit at the SGI European Center in Trets, southern France. Some 200 members from 26 European countries attended. SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a message applauding SGI-Europe's efforts to foster capable people, based on the study and practice of Nichiren Buddhism that teaches the shared commitment of mentor and disciple.

During the meeting, Shozo Kotera, Yoshiharu Matsuno, Enrique Caputo and Leonardo Duricic were introduced as new SGI-Europe vice chairs. Katsuhiko Sakaki was appointed as SGI-Europe vice secretariat, and Anna Conti and Michiko Samuels as the new SGI-Europe vice women chairs. It was also announced that SGI-Germany Youth Leader Daiki Nakamoto would become SGI-Europe Youth Summit chair. Former chair Yasunori Hirayama, also SGI-UK youth advisor, will serve as advisor.

Participants discussed plans for 2009, including summer sessions and study exams on Nichiren Buddhism. Various countries shared activity reports. The report from SGI-Iceland, which was officially incorporated as a religious organization in Iceland in April 2008, was particularly moving.

Since last fall, Iceland has been confronting a serious economic crisis. Many people lost their jobs and their savings. With a firm belief that it was the time to "change poison into medicine," SGI-Iceland members began visiting and encouraging their beleaguered friends and fellow members. At the request of a national television station, SGI-Iceland General Director Eygló Jónsdóttir appeared on a program and introduced SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's words, "We all possess within us the power to overcome and endure." Through their efforts in carrying out heartfelt dialogue, the number of participants in weekly prayer sessions increased threefold and the attendance at young women's meetings doubled. SGI-Iceland members are making meaningful and joyful contributions to the reconstruction of their country.

090129eu_summit2.jpg SGI-Europe representatives from 26 countries meet in France

The summit closed with SGI-Europe Chair Hideaki Takahashi's remarks, in which he called on everyone to endeavor to contribute to their respective societies and expand friendship and understanding of the SGI's humanistic spirit across Europe.

[Adapted from an article in the January 29, 2009 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]