SGI Members Commemorate March 16 Throughout the World
On and around March 16, 2009, SGI members throughout the world commemorated March 16, 1958, a day epitomizing youth awakening to a mission of and accepting responsibility for creating lasting peace.
On March 15, 2009, SGI-Netherlands youth held a commemorative meeting at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague (Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag). Among the guests were former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, Mrs. Ria Lubbers and renowned religious leader Rabbi Avraham Soetendorp. Mr. Lubbers reminisced about his first meeting with SGI President Daisaku Ikeda at the prime minister's official residence in The Hague during June 1983. Telling of his determination to disseminate the spirit of the Earth Charter and promote environmental activism, he stressed that SGI has made considerable contributions to preserving the dignity of life and realizing world peace. SGI-Netherlands has hosted the SGI's "Human Rights in Today's World" exhibition in various venues across the country.
During the meeting, three young people shared their resolve to spread a philosophy of hope. A choir of youth members from Amsterdam and Rotterdam performed. SGI-Netherlands Youth Leader Akiko Kotera emphasized that transforming society for the better begins with each person's own human revolution, and urged the participants to engage in dialogues for peace.
On March 16, some 200 SGI-Brazil youth leaders gathered at the Brazil Ikeda Culture Center in São Paulo, Brazil. SGI-Brazil Young Men's Leader Edson Tokunaga and Young Women's Leader Andreia Tomizawa encouraged the participants to put into practice the shared commitment of mentor and disciple and forge ahead to be victorious in their daily lives.
Nearly 180 SGI-Uruguay members gathered at the Uruguay Culture Center in Montevideo on March 15. Youth representatives sang "Hoshi Otsu Shufu Gojogen" (The Stars Fall and the Autumn Wind Blows on the Field of Gojo), which Mr. Ikeda together with youth members often sang for second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda. On the same day, SGI-Greece members gathered at their center in Athens. SGI-Greece General Director Dimitri Dimopoulos mentioned the "ever victorious" Kansai spirit that he learned about during the recent SGI Spring Training Course in Japan. SGI-Thailand young men and young women held commemorative meetings on March 7 and 16, respectively.
[Adapted from articles in the March 23 and 27, 2009 issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]