SGI Representatives Participate in Fourth Catalan Parliament of Religions
On June 14, 2009, the fourth Catalan Parliament of Religions took place at the University of Lleida (UdL: Universitat de Lleida) in Lleida, Catalonia, Spain, as a pre-event for the international Parliament of the World's Religions to be held in Melbourne, Australia, in December 2009. The UNESCO Association of Lleida organized the event, which was co-hosted by many other organizations including SGI-Spain. The State of Catalonia has actively promoted interfaith dialogue and has hosted the religious conference annually since 2005.
Some 800 people, including representatives of religious organizations, scholars, educators and citizens, attended the event in Lleida titled "Spirituality, Women and Society: Unity in Diversity." University of Lleida Rector Joan Viñas, Catalonia Autonomous Government Vice-President Josep Lluís Carod-Rovira, UNESCO Association of Lleida President Jesús Sans and Lleida Mayor Àngel Ros gave addresses at the opening ceremony.
The event included a roundtable discussion on "Women and Different Traditions" by eight women representing major religious associations in Catalonia. Dora Fernández Guillén, an SGI-Spain women's leader, represented Buddhist organizations together with Catalan Buddhist Association President Montse Castellà. Other faith traditions represented were Brahma kumaris, Baha'i, Catholic Christianity, Protestant Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
During the discussion, each panelist responded to the following questions from the general audience:
1. Gender equality is an indispensable prerequisite for the development of humankind. How can we further promote gender equality?
2. What is each religion implementing to establish a peaceful future full of harmony and respect?
In her answer to the first question, Ms. Fernández spoke about the importance of education, in which the Soka Gakkai has its origins. In response to the second question, she explained the concept of "human revolution," or inner transformation, and shared the SGI's humanistic ideals.
A Lotus Sutra exhibition, supported by SGI-Spain was also held as a precursor to the fourth Catalan Parliament.
[Adapted from a report from SGI-Spain; photo courtesy of SGI-Spain]