Singapore Soka Association Holds Youth for Peace Interfaith Symposium
On March 16, 2008, the First Youth for Peace Interfaith Symposium was held at Singapore's Expo Hall 4. Guest of honor was Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo, and the event was attended by some 4,000 youth and members of different religious organizations representing the Baha'i, Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu and Islamic faiths in Singapore.
Titled "Humanizing Religions, Creating Peace," this event was an initiative of the Singapore Soka Association (SSA) youth aimed at raising awareness among young people of the importance of promoting peace and harmony and encouraging youth members of the various religious organizations in Singapore to be more proactive in interfaith relations and collaboration.
Minister George Yeo also officially opened an exhibition titled "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit," and delivered a lecture on peace. He stated, "Whatever we do or say, however, disputes and conflicts can suddenly arise--that is to be expected. But we will be able to overcome them so long as we remember we are fellow human beings and that Singapore is our common home." He then introduced 180° Yearnings for Peace, a book created by the SSA Student Division featuring quotes for peace under the topics of "Self," "Family and Community," "Education," "Youth" and "Humanity" drawn from a wide range of different faiths. Minister Yeo also contributed the foreword for this book.
Representatives from the different religious organizations presented speeches on youth involvement for peace in the context of their different religious teachings. At the symposium, cultural performances were also presented by the different organizations in the spirit of linking hearts through arts and culture.
[Adapted from an SSA report and an article in the March 25, 2008 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of SSA]