Bharat Soka Gakkai Participates in Interfaith Conference
On September 27, Naveena Reddi and Dr. Akash K. Ouchi, deputy chairpersons of Bharat (India) Soka Gakkai (BSG), participated in an interfaith conference in New Delhi organized by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
The gathering included Rabbi Abraham Benjamin of the Shaar Hashamaim Synagogue; Archbishop of Delhi Vincent M. Concessao; Giani Gurbachan Singh, head of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib, one of the five seats of Sikh religious and temporal authority; Imam Umar Ahmed Ilyasi, president of the All India Organisation of Imams of Mosques; and Chidanand Sarawatiji, president of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram. The conference was also attended by Tony Blair, the foundation's patron and the former prime minister of the United Kingdom.
Discussions at the conference centered on the contribution of different faiths to social action projects. Faith leaders spoke about the importance of spiritual and values-based education.
Dr. Ouchi of BSG talked about the importance that faith plays in the everyday lives of Indian people and stated that as an "interfaith spirit" already exists in India, it is the country's "spiritual mission" to create a world of peaceful coexistence.
The Tony Blair Faith Foundation aims to promote understanding of the world's major religions and to show how faith can be a powerful force for the creation of good in society. The foundation also runs the Faiths Act Fellowship program that brings together outstanding young interfaith leaders and NGOs to work toward ending poverty in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A BSG member from New Delhi, Aparajita Bharti, was one of the four young people from India that were selected for the 2011 fellowship. The four are currently working on maternal and child health issues and focusing on prevention of suffering and death from malaria with two Delhi-based NGOs.
[Adapted from an article in the December 2011 issue of Value Creation, Bharat Soka Gakkai; photo courtesy of Akash Ouchi]