Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting and SGI General Meeting Held
Some 250 SGI members from 60 countries and territories gathered at Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall in Hachioji, Japan, on November 5 for the 53rd Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting held in conjunction with an SGI General Meeting. The meeting also celebrated the founding of the Soka Gakkai on November 18, 1930.
At the meeting, Matthias Gröninger, who is SGI-Europe Vice Chair and SGI-Germany General Director, introduced SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's first visit to Germany in 1961 where he visited the Berlin wall and made a strong determination to work for peace. Inspired by Mr. Ikeda's spirit and his sense of justice, Mr. Gröninger decided to become a lawyer in order to contribute to building peace in Germany.
Mr. Gröninger also reported on a recent symposium that was organized by SGI-Germany where some of the first pioneer SGI members in Germany--many who came to the country from Japan as coal miners and nurses in the 1960s--were recognized for their efforts to spread the humanistic philosophy of Buddhism.
At the meeting, it was also announced that current Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada has been re-elected as President by a selection committee within the Soka Gakkai.
In his speech, Mr. Harada focused on the importance of fostering youth to become capable leaders in society and cited the example of how SGI President Daisaku Ikeda put forth all of his energy in doing so when he was a youth. Mr. Ikeda was put in charge of a Soka Gakkai chapter in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, in 1953. The Chapter had become stagnant, however, through his full-hearted support of the youth members in the Chapter, the group was revived and the following year it became one of the foremost Chapters in Japan.
Mr. Harada also spoke about the proposed completion of the new Soka Gakkai Headquarters building in 2013 and toward this milestone encouraged everyone to win in their lives this year.
In his message to the participants, Mr. Ikeda shared his deepest condolences to those who have been affected by the recent floods in Thailand. He also encouraged members not to give up hope in the face of obstacles and to continue working toward establishing a peaceful society based on the principles of Buddhism.
A video clip of Mr. Ikeda's guidance from the November 2009 Headquarters Leaders Meeting and SGI General Meeting was shown.
At the SGI Training Course new leadership appointments were also announced for SGI-Europe. Sakae Takashi was appointed General Women's Leader for Europe and Suzanne Pritchard was made Women's Leader for Europe.
[Adapted from articles in the November 6 and 11, 2011, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]