Back to listMar 7, 2006

SGI-USA Representative Speaks at Interfaith Event During UN Commission on the Status of Women, in New York

Women representing Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Judaism discuss how gender and faith affect their efforts to create peace and social justice

On March 1, 2006, the Temple of Understanding, a nongovernmental organization accredited with the United Nations (UN), hosted a second lecture on "Religion and Global Citizenship" in New York, USA. This event was an official parallel event of the 50th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN headquarters. Some 70 individuals attended, including government officials and UN and NGO representatives. With a theme, "Women in Leadership: Religion, Vocation, and Identity," women from four religious traditions--Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Judaism, discussed their roles as global citizens and how gender and faith influence their efforts for peace and social justice. Dr. Betty Reardon, founding Director of the Peace Education Center at Teachers College Columbia University, served as moderator. Panelists were: Paula Miksic, SGI-USA vice general director (Buddhism); Reverend Suzan Johnson Cook, president of the Hampton Ministers Conference (Christianity); Dr. Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America (Hinduism); and Shula Koenig, founding director of the People's Movement for Human Rights Education (Judaism).

Paula Miksic of SGI-USA represented Buddhism

SGI-USA's Paula Miksic spoke about her conversion to Nichiren Buddhism following her youth devoted to social and political movements, believing that if only social and political conditions were right, then people could lead happy and fruitful lives. With Nichiren Buddhism, she said she discovered a way to effect positive social and environmental change, through non-violent means--that is "self-culture," or what is called "human revolution." She emphasized that the practice of Nichiren Buddhism allows one to tap and develop unlimited potential. Ms. Miksic also explained basic Buddhist concepts such as the eternity of life, the equality of life and the interconnectedness of life. She introduced three elements of global citizenship--wisdom, courage and compassion, taken from a speech delivered by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda at Teachers College, Colombia University, in 1996. In conclusion, she introduced the Buddhist concept of "many in body and one in mind," stressing that the solidarity of women who value and appreciate each other, who learn from and support each other, will foster the leaders in all fields of endeavor who can guide the world to peace.