Back to listSep 21, 2012

SGI-New Zealand Co-organizes UN Peace Day Gathering

Peace Flame in the city’s Botanical GardensCelebrating UN Peace Day in the Wellington Botanical Gardens

On September 21, Wellington City Council and SGI-New Zealand (SGINZ) co-organized an event to mark the UN International Day of Peace at the Peace Flame in the city's Botanical Gardens. The event, which brought together over 100 people, began with interfaith prayers for peace led by representatives from the city's various faiths, including the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahá'í and Jewish communities.

"Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future" was the theme of this year's Peace Day, celebrated around the world. Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown read a message from Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, president of Mayors for Peace, in which he expressed his determination to continue sharing the legacy of the hibakusha to prevent the horrors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima being forgotten. Former UN Under-Secretary General Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury also sent a message in which he stated: "Promotion of equality between women and men and equal participation of women in decision-making are essential prerequisites to attaining the culture of peace."

Origami treeOrigami cranes hung from a tree

Drawing on a quote by Professor Kevin Clements, director of the National Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago, SGINZ General Director Jimi Wallace stressed that it is vital that each person expand their circle of compassion and find a way to exercise leadership for peace. He also emphasized the importance of having faith in the potential of each individual to make a difference.

Two SGINZ members gave a rendition of traditional Japanese songs, and women and youth members from different peace groups such as the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the local organizers of International Women’s Day worked together to decorate the site with origami cranes and candles.

On September 21, in Isleworth, West London, to commemorate the UN International Day of Peace, Diane Scott, a local SGI member who is part of Hounslow Friends of Faith, joined representatives of the area’s different faith communities in lighting candles for peace at the Hussaini Islamic Mission. Ms. Scott introduced SGI’s activities for peace and President Ikeda’s peace proposals.

[Adapted from articles in the October 17, 2012, issue of the SGI-UK Online News Bulletin and the SGINZ website; photos courtesy of SGINZ]