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Peace and Disarmament

Back to listAug 31, 2006

SGI President Meets UN Under-Secretary General, Entrusts UN Proposal

Dr. Chowdhury and Mr. Ikeda have a reunion

On August 30, 2006, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda met with UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, at the Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall in Hachioji, Tokyo. Following discussions on development and peace issues, Mr. Ikeda presented Under-Secretary-General Chowdhury with a proposal entitled "Fulfilling the Mission: Empowering the UN to Live Up to the World's Expectations." Dr. Chowdhury said he accepted the proposal on behalf of the United Nations.

The proposal stresses that the UN's fundamental purpose as a forum for dialogue to avert war is as vital now as it was when the body was founded in 1945. Mr. Ikeda urges that the UN renew its commitment to its original mission.

Dr. Chowdhury (center) and Betty Williams (second row, 3rd from right) participate in ribbon-cutting with young guests at the "Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World," an SGI exhibition portraying the potential of ordinary individuals to contribute to peace (February 4, 2004, Visitors' Lobby of the UN Headquarters in New York City, New York, USA)

Emphasizing the core challenge of building a culture of peace, a concept that Under-Secretary-General Chowdhury has long championed within the UN system, Mr. Ikeda urges that the organization continue to develop and enhance its "soft power" capacities of dialogue and diplomacy and avoid being drawn into reactive approaches which attempt to solve problems through military force or "hard power."

Mr. Ikeda stresses three themes: a shared sense of purpose, a shared sense of responsibility and shared fields of action.

As a shared sense of purpose, he proposes the building of a culture of peace based on the awareness that peace is much more than the mere absence of conflict. He places special emphasis on poverty reduction and nuclear disarmament as keys to transforming the current "culture of war." He proposes a decade of action by the people of the world towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.

To foster a shared sense of responsibility, he urges the establishment of frameworks that engage young people in UN deliberations, such as holding a gathering of youth representatives prior to the UN General Assembly each year, enhancing opportunities for volunteering and internship within the UN system and establishing an office for youth within the UN.

UN Under-Secretary Chowdhury and Mr. Ikeda view a photograph of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, taken by Mr. Ikeda

In terms of shared fields of action, he proposes establishing regional UN offices to strengthen cooperation between member states and the UN, and further development of partnerships between the UN and civil society.

The proposal urges the world's citizens to be proactively involved with the UN: "[I]t is essential to build momentum for reform from the bottom up... We cannot afford to wait passively for top-down reform to emerge from intergovernmental deliberations."

The full proposal can be viewed [here].

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda has issued peace proposals yearly since 1983.

UN Under-Secretary Chowdhury (seated, center) takes commemorative photo with the Soka Gakkai Young Women's Peace and Culture Conference (YWPCC) and the Women's Peace Committee (WPC). Dr. Chowdhury first learned about the SGI through the WPC-sponsored "Children of the World and the 21st Century" exhibition that launched in Kobe in July 1990.