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Peace and Disarmament

Back to listAug 12, 2007

UN Ambassador Chowdhury Meets with SGI Youth in Auckland, New Zealand

On August 12, 2007, former UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul Chowdhury was a special guest at a gathering of 300 members and guests at the SGI New Zealand Community Center in Auckland.

A children's chorus performs for Ambassador Chowdhury and other participants

SGI New Zealand General Director Jimi Wallace presented Ambassador Chowdhury with the SGI-New Zealand Peace Award. In his remarks, Ambassador Chowdhury said he is always energized and encouraged when he works together with SGI members. He also expressed his appreciation for SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's "great" support of the United Nations, especially through his annual peace proposals that are so useful for identifying key issues with great accuracy. He stated that Mr. Ikeda has no official UN position but has done so much to support the organization. The ambassador then held a Q&A session. In response to the question of what is the biggest threat to human security in the world today, Ambassador Chowdhury answered that it is the feeling of being worthless as an individual and that lack of self worth and empowerment can lead to violence. He stressed to the participants that each one of them was incredibly valuable for the sake of creating lasting peace.

During the meeting, Malou Bromley reported on the local Victory Over Violence (VOV) activities. Using peer facilitators, the VOV program incorporates Ghandian and Buddhist principles to encourage students to value themselves, value others and inspire hope in others. Ms. Bromley reported that the VOV program has been in place at Reporoa College for the past three years. The school is the first in New Zealand to adopt the curriculum and has seen significant decreases in instances of bullying and more positive behavior and study patterns. She expressed appreciation for the 15 VOV volunteers, saying that during their visits to the school they modeled the behavior that they wanted to teach the students and that the school staff is enthusiastic about the VOV program.

[Adapted from an SGI-New Zealand report and an article in the August 27, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]