Bharat Soka Gakkai Member Wins Tony Blair Interfaith Fellowship
Aparajita Bharti, a 21-year-old Bharat (India) Soka Gakkai (BSG) member, has been selected by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation for one of its Faiths Act Fellowships for 2011-12. Ms. Bharti, representing the Buddhist faith, was one of four Indians--2 Hindus, 1 Muslim and 1 Buddhist--selected. The foundation aims to show how faith can be a powerful motivating force for good, and its Faiths Act Fellowships bring together both outstanding young interfaith leaders and NGOs to work toward ending poverty in line with the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Ms. Bharti will attend a month-long training course in London, where participants will learn how to promote understanding and dialogue among various religious groups, conduct interfaith activities, design and execute various social events centered on the MDGs and mobilize community resources to build awareness on maternal health. On her return to Delhi, Ms. Bharti and other Faiths Act Fellows will work with the Kutumb Foundation, a Delhi-based NGO, to improve maternal care. Their work will be a step toward achieving the MDG of reducing the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters by 2015.
In an article about Ms. Bharti featured in BSG's publication Value Creation, she shares that her motivation for applying for the fellowship came from reading a quote by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda which states "[A] truly international person is one who can share, as a fellow human being, the sufferings and sadness as well as the happiness and joy of others, and unite with others to promote common human interests." Ms. Bharti believes religion is deeply connected to development and politics and also shared that the fellowship will be a "tremendous learning opportunity to develop my thoughts on this issue."
[Adapted from an article in the July 2011 issue of Value Creation, Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG); photo courtesy of BSG]