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Back to listJul 12, 2007

SGI Representatives Attend International Socio-Religious Conference in Havana, Cuba

070721cuba_socrelig_conf1.jpg SGI-Mexico's Mr. Rios (2nd from left) and Dr. Inoue (left) participate in an international conference on socio-religious studies in Havana, Cuba

From July 10-12, 2007, SGI-Mexico General Director Roberto Rios and Youth Division Chief Daisuke Inoue represented the SGI and the Buddhist worldview at the Fifth International Meeting on Socio-Religious Studies at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA) in Havana, Cuba. The conference was sponsored by the Department of Socio-religious Studies at CITMA's Center for Psychological and Sociological Research (CIPS) with the theme, "Religious Movements in the Face of Conflicts and Challenges of a World in Crisis."

Some 200 religious leaders, economists, scientists and scholars from 14 countries in the Americas, Africa and Europe attended workshops, lectures and panel discussions on topics such as "Dialogue, Integration and Macro-ecumenism," "New Religious Movements," "Eastern Religions in the West," "Politics, Culture, Globalization and Religion," "Religion, Gender and Family" and "Daily Life and Religion."

The opening session on July 10 was attended by Caridad Diego Bello, head of the Religious Affairs Department at the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. On the same day, CIPS Senior Researcher Sonia Jiménez and Researcher Aurora Aguilar presented papers on SGI-Cuba at the request of the Cuban government. They gave a positive evaluation, saying the SGI has spread a philosophy of humanism beginning with safeguarding human rights, particularly those of women.

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On July 12, representatives of Islam, Christianity and Buddhism gave presentations. Mr. Rios and Dr. Inoue, speaking on the Buddhist perspective, delivered a joint lecture titled, "The SGI Movement Based on the Tenets of Nichiren Buddhism--Observations of a Buddhist's Approach to Peace Building through Interfaith Dialogue."

The two discussed various issues confronting religions in contemporary society and the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, which teaches that every individual inherently possesses the life state of Buddha, or enlightenment. They stated that Nichiren Buddhism naturally spread to 190 countries around the world through grassroots dialogues and discussions. Mr. Rios and Dr. Inoue also underscored the importance of religious movements that inspire practitioners to initiate interfaith dialogues and that heighten intercultural awareness and understanding, and explained how SGI President Daisaku Ikeda has engaged in dialogues since the early 70s with leading figures around the world. Mr. Ikeda's dialogues now number some 1,600.

[Adapted from an article in the July 21, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]