Peace and Disarmament
SGI Day Celebrated in Guam
On January 9, 2009, SGI-USA Guam celebrated the 34th anniversary of the SGI's founding with a day of events in Agana, Guam, titled "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit."
To mark the occasion, Guam Governor Felix Camacho named January 9 "World Peace Day" and the island's legislature signed a resolution commending Daisaku and Kaneko Ikeda and the members of the SGI, as well as honoring the SGI's founding on January 26, 1975. Speaker of the 30th Guam Legislature Judith Won Pat worked with local SGI-USA members to ensure the dedication's success.
SGI-USA General Director Danny Nagashima and West Territory Leader Cliff Sawyer attended a dedication at Tamuning Park, where a monument will be built honoring the original event. The park is located across from the International Trade Center, the site of the January 26, 1975 meeting. On that day, 158 representatives from 51 countries and territories met on Guam, whose citizens were intimately familiar with the ravages of war.
"President Ikeda chose this island to change the destiny of all humankind from a century of war to a century of peace," Mr. Nagashima said. "He initiated this new beginning--the dawning of the SGI--from this island."
In a message to those gathered for the event, Mr. Ikeda offered his sincere congratulations and reiterated his remarks made in 1975 on Guam: "The sun of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is beginning to rise over the distant horizon . . . I hope you do not seek after your own praise or glory, but instead dedicate your whole lives to sowing the seeds (of the Mystic Law) for the sake of the peace of the whole world. I shall do the same thing." (A Lasting Peace: Collected Addresses of Daisaku Ikeda, pp. 162-63) Mr. Ikeda also noted that there are now SGI members in 192 countries and territories worldwide.
As part of the celebration, SGI-USA Guam held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the exhibition "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit," which was on display January 9-16 at the Agana Shopping Center. The 36-panel exhibition presents core issues of human security and nuclear disarmament in an accessible way, highlighting the positive role citizens around the world can play.
Guam Chief Justice Robert Torres served as the keynote speaker for the event, attended by local dignitaries, including Speaker Won Pat. SGI-USA Guam members also donated books at Okkodo High School in Dededo, Guam--a school so new that its library bookshelves were still empty.
On January 10, a peace conference took place at the Royal Orchid Guam Hotel. Local representatives from several organizations, including the Department of Youth Affairs, AmeriCorps and Victim Advocates Reaching Out, participated in a panel discussion based on the exhibition's theme. Nuclear bomb victims also shared their experiences in a special presentation.
[Adapted from the February 13, 2009 issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA and an article in the February 3, 2009 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]