Peace and Disarmament
SGI Representative to the UN is Keynote Speaker at UN Event in Orlando, Florida, USA
On October 16, 2008, the Greater Orlando Chapter of the United Nations Association-USA (UNA-USA) sponsored the third annual "Nurture the Nations" to commemorate UN Day on October 24. Titled "The Millennium Development Goals: Halfway to the Promise," the event featured exhibitions by 18 partner organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the League of Women Voters. Some 150 people attended the event at the University of Central Florida. As one of the partner organizations, SGI-USA Orlando displayed SGI-USA's "Children Are the Future" exhibition, which features the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). SGI-USA Orlando taiko drummers opened the evening with a dynamic piece, while renowned guitarist Larry Coryell, an SGI member, performed several numbers.
According to the Millennium Development Goals Report 2008, the first goal of reducing extreme poverty by half should be met at the global level by 2015. Poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa, however, has not been successful and the number of people living in poverty has increased substantially. The report identifies progress in some areas but also shows the need and urgency for further efforts.
Following an overview of the MDGs by Sultana F. Ali, interim president of the Greater Orlando Chapter of the UNA-USA, SGI's representative to the UN in New York, Hiro Sakurai, gave the keynote speech focusing on the importance of the human dimension as well as the intellectual and technical expertise needed to achieve the MDGs. Sharing SGI's relevant activities at the UN, Mr. Sakurai pointed out that people's efforts to foster a culture of peace don't have to be on a grand scale.
"We can start with things within our reach, close to home in our daily lives. It can be putting a little additional effort into something we are already doing. Any conscious effort for peace can be a great start. If each of us takes just one extra step forward, the positive impact will be enormous," Mr. Sakurai said. "Buddhism teaches that everything we think, say and do creates either a negative or positive cause. It means that everything matters."
[Adapted from a report from SGI UN Liaison Officer Hiro Sakurai in New York, USA; photos courtesy of Roger Coatney]