Peace and Disarmament
SGI-USA Members Participate in International Day of Peace in San Diego, California
On September 22, 2009, SGI-USA San Diego North Region members participated in the International Day of Peace celebration at the Garden of the Sky Plaza in San Diego, California. The event was hosted by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego. Hundreds of people attended the event, including representatives from 40 peace-oriented community organizations, including the United Nations Association of San Diego.
In 2002, the General Assembly of the United Nations officially recognized September 21 as the International Day of Peace. Every year on this day, the United Nations calls on individuals, communities, nations and governments to underscore efforts to promote peace.
At this event, SGI-USA set up a booth where people could learn more about Nichiren Buddhism and the SGI. Books either written or co-authored by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, including the Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra series and Choose Life, a published dialogue between British historian Arnold J. Toynbee and Mr. Ikeda, were put on display. Copies of Mr. Ikeda's 2008 and 2009 U.N. peace proposals were also made available.
Students from local schools had the opportunity to learn about the SGI-USA Victory Over Violence (VOV) peace program at the SGI-booth. VOV is a youth-sponsored program that helps young people identify and counteract root causes of violence in their daily lives.
At the invitation of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, four female international peacemakers attended the International Peace Day event: Zeinab Blandia, a Muslim peacemaker who founded an organization that helps empower indigenous women in Sudan; Rubina Feroze Bhatti, who protects the rights of women who are targets of honor killings and other forms of violence in Pakistan; Marta Benavides, who has helped rebuild war-torn communities in El Salvador by promoting sustainable agriculture and protecting the rights of women and children; and Liza Llesis Saway, an indigenous peacemaker in Mindanao in the Philippines who helps empower Talaandig women to gain equal opportunities in the decision making processes of their tribe. The peace day event provided a forum for representatives from various organizations to dialogue about their respective activities for peace.
[Adapted from an article in the October 23, 2009, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA]