Peace and Disarmament
Kathmandu, Nepal, Presents First Kathumandu Peace Award to SGI President
Kathmandu, Nepal's capital, recently created the Kathmandu Peace Award to be conferred upon individuals deemed to have made significant contributions to world peace. SGI President Daisaku Ikeda was chosen as the first recipient of the award for 2004, for his contributions to world peace and friendship between Nepal and Japan. The conferral took place at Kathmandu City Hall on January 2, commemorating Mr. Ikeda's 77th birthday, as well as the tenth anniversary of Mr. Ikeda's first visit to Nepal. Distinguished guests attended the conferral, including: Mr. Surya Prasad Silwal, chief executive officer of Kathmandu Metropolitan City; Japanese Ambassador to Nepal Tsutomu Hiraoka; and former mayors and other government officials.
Following words by Kathmandu Metropolitan City Department of International Relations Chief Shankar Raj Kandel, Ministry of Local Development Secretary Bal Krishna Prasai presented the award to SGI-Nepal Advisor Yoshiko Kawamura, who received it in proxy. In an acceptance speech read by Ms. Kawamura, Mr. Ikeda expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the momentous distinction and fondly recalled his visit to Nepal in October 1995, which included being impressed with "the citizens of Kathmandu who abound with humanity as vast and lofty as the Himalayas." Together with the SGI members, he hoped to further "cultivate exchanges and solidarity among people founded on culture and education and transcending boundaries of nation and race, so that true peace may be established in the world and all people are respected and radiate with happiness."
In his conferral speech, Mr. Prasai expressed pleasure in representing Kathmandu to present the 2004 Kathmandu Peace Award to Mr. Ikeda. He introduced an excerpt from the foreword of The Human Revolution, Mr. Ikeda's novelized account of Soka Gakkai's history: "a great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind." He then stated that Mr. Ikeda was being honored for his unparalleled and valuable contributions to world peace and education. Mr. Prasai expressed regret for the violence of recent years that has shrouded Nepal's tradition and pride as a peaceable country. He affirmed that in this regard, the current conferral had multifarious significance: not only was it a reaffirmation of Nepalese citizens to advance peace, culture and education in their society, but it also served as a catalyst for restoring peace in Nepal and the world at large. For Nepal to continue in its efforts to recognize contributions to peacebuilding itself is a significant contribution to creating peace. Mr. Prasai expressed confidence that Mr. Ikeda's work would be instrumental in bringing peace to his country. In conclusion, he expressed hopes to strengthen exchanges between Nepal and Japan.
Following the conferral, former Royal Nepalese Ambassador to Japan Bishnu Hari Nepal remarked that he had learned valuable principles from Mr. Ikeda, whom he considers "a champion of peace, culture and education," a "fighter for peace," and a "creator of culture." He also said he is currently conducting peace studies using Mr. Ikeda's annual peace proposals, and has nearly completed a thesis based on the SGI president's writings, which are infused with the spirit of Buddhism.
The conferral was aired live on a local radio station, as well as attended by reporters from 25 media organizations.