SGI Youth Participate in Exchange Meetings in Japan
On September 8, some 250 SGI youth from over 55 countries attended the opening ceremony of the SGI Youth Training Session at the Soka International Friendship Center in Tokyo.
Following the opening ceremony, a World Soka Youth General Meeting was held at the same venue which SGI members attended together with Japanese Soka Gakkai youth representatives. While celebrating the important role youth play in the future development of the world, the meeting also marked a symbolic ceremony of youth from different cultures coming together with a shared sense of purpose to contribute to the advancement of peace.
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a message to the youth, congratulating them on the meeting and expressed his wish for each of them to continue developing and strengthening themselves through their Buddhist practice.
The meeting included presentations from SGI-USA Young Women's Leader Amber Suitt and Soka Gakkai's Tohoku Youth Leader Hidehiro Kato on youth activities within their respective organizations.
Mr. Kato, who was in Tohoku at the time of the March 11 earthquake, shared his deepest appreciation for all the support and encouragement received from SGI members following the devastation caused by the quake and tsunami. He also shared inspiring stories of how individual Soka Gakkai youth members stood up in the face of the crisis to help one another.
On September 10, the visiting youth members also joined the Soka Gakkai Monthly Leaders Meeting, held together with the National Youth Leaders Meeting at the Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall in Hachioji. The following day, the SGI youth representatives visited the Soka Gakkai Kanagawa Culture Center in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, after which they divided into smaller groups for cultural exchange meetings with local Soka Gakkai members.
[Adapted from articles in the September 9, 11 and 13, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]