Director of Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Speaks on "Buddhism, Singapore and Interfaith Dialogue" at Annual Lecture
On December 10, 2007, the Singapore Soka Association (SSA) sponsored its seventh Daisaku Ikeda Annual Lecture at the SSA Headquarters in Singapore. Guest speaker Dr. K. Kesavapany, director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) and Singapore's ambassador to Jordan, spoke on "Buddhism, Singapore and Interfaith Dialogue." Some 800 attended. Among the guests were Singapore Management University President Professor Howard Hunter and representatives from the Chinese, Malay and Indian communities.
In his message for the event, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda stated that the purpose of SGI's movement for peace, culture and education based on the humanism of Nichiren Buddhism is to help open closed hearts and closed minds--"diseases" deep-rooted in modern civilization--and expand networks of dialogue. Mr. Ikeda expressed his conviction that dialogue is the fundamental remedy for the pathology of the modern world.
Ambassador Kesavapany has filled several important posts at Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva from 1991 to 1997. From the global perspective gained from his experiences, Ambassador Kesavapany acknowledged and praised SSA's many activities that contribute to society, including its ongoing participation in the annual National Day Parade. He urged SSA members to take the initiative in promoting interfaith and inter-ethnic dialogues in Singapore's multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.
Singapore's leading daily, Straits Times, covered the event along with other media outlets.
[SSA instituted the Daisaku Ikeda Annual Lecture (DIAL) in 2000 in honor of Mr. Ikeda's contributions to humanity. DIAL seeks to provide a platform for distinguished individuals to speak on issues of peace, culture and education, which will further the sharing and exchange of views and ideas for the betterment of humanity.]
[Adapted from an article in the December 24, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Japan; photos courtesy of Singapore Soka Association]